It is my goal and intention to bring about significant changes to the court. First, I like to make it affordable and accessible. This can be done by increasing the cap in small claims court from $10,000 to $15,000 or even $20,000.
San Francisco E-filing System
San Francisco e-filing system is a disaster. Unless you are a big firm and have an e-filing specialist on staff you are hopeless to file anything in San Francisco. Self-represented litigants are forgotten. It is a maze. The court rejects documents on a regular basis without proper reasons or explanations. San Francisco clerks act as opposing attorneys rather than clerks. Documents are rejected on multiple times for different reasons. With each rejection there is a fee of $13.50. This is not an affordable system.
It is so difficult that large law firms like Morrison & Foerster are hiring e-filing specialist in San Francisco. San Francisco has one of the highest ratings in rejecting e-filings in the state. My opponent, judge Lee, implemented the e-filing system. After being on the bench for 20 years, this is what we have. We are in Silicon Valley and we need to change this defective system. If elected, I will make it my first priority to develop a simple, easy, and affordable e-filing system.
Our master calendar system is another major problem. It is time to move into this century. Federal courts, and other counties have single assignment system. Litigants and pro se litigants representing themselves, are homeless in San Francisco Court. We have no idea who to turn to when faced with an issue that can be resolved with a simple conference call. Because of that everyone is forced to file a motion. This makes litigation expensive.
In federal courts or other counties, cases are assigned to a single department. That in of itself reduces motion practice. Many issues can be handled without a motion by a conference call if it is assigned to a single department. This will ultimately it will reduce the litigation cost.
A Judiciary that Reflects San Francisco Values
San Francisco never had an Iranian-American judge on the bench. 3% of San Francisco's population is Iranian-American. Iranian-American judges preside in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Addition of an Iranian-American judge to San Francisco represents San Francisco values. Our judiciary must reflect the ethnicity of its population.
Elizabeth is running for Seat #9. Currently, Seat #9 is occupied by Judge Cynthia Ming-Mei Lee. In addition to Judge Lee, Kwixuan Maloof from public defender's office is running for the same seat. In this election alone, four SF public defenders are running. How many public defenders do we want as judges. Their experiences are limited to the cases handled by the public defender's office which is mostly criminal cases. They lack experience in civil, real estate, construction defect and other complex issues facing San Francisco court.
As noted by California Senator Scott Wiener that could be a problem. He said: "It concerns me that one public defender’s office is trying to take out four judges in one fell swoop." https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Bay-Area-Dems-defend-4-GOP-appointed-judges-12611704.php. None of them have any background in real estate or important civil issues facing San Francisco.
According to California State Bar, Judge Lee was admitted to practice law in 1974. She was appointed in 1998 by Governor Pete Wilson. The Robing Room, a website dedicated to rate judges, rated Judge Lee 3.3 out of 6. Attorneys appearing before Judge Lee characterized her as "mean," "arrogant," "bias," and wanting "to humiliate and embarrass any attorney who does not suck up to her, like a queen on the throne." It is time to change.