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JUDICIAl WATCH
P4(j[ 17/43
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COUNTY OF L05 ANCELES
o FFICf Of TH£ COU Nl1' CO U N .s.! l

• •• 0' AO ,,,,, •• '.A'f'IO ...
• 00 ".CC"
,-os •• C.A"'''OAN'A .00'.
__.,., ..."",T••. cov-yy
November 10. 1988
Mr. Frank S. %011n
countf Orfic.,
Court
11 North B111 Stre.t
tos Ang_l •• , 90012
Attention, Eric D. Webber, Chi,t Deputy
Rea 3udic1al Compens.tlon
Dear Hr. ZOlin:
You hive .sked out opinion concerning the le9ality
of judgea with County employee benetits such
•• the Flexibl. and S«vin98 Plans.
It 18 oue opinion th.t judges' salaries mu.c b. set
by the Le91slature, but oth.r benefits may (and in ,ome
case. must) b. by the county.
ANALYSIS
Article VI, Section 19 ot tne California
Constitution provides#
Lev181ature shall prescribe compenaat1on for
judV•• ot court. ot recor4. A judge of • court of
record ftal not rece!v. the .alary tor the ofticial
of tic. he d by the j udge while Iny cause before the
j
ud
9- remAin. pen41n9 .nd tor '0 days
after it ha. been 8ubmitte4 ear deci.lon.
u
.
/ I I:<
02/2&/2eee 1&: 132 &2&231'28eJ JUDICIAl.
18/43
Mr. Frank S. &olln
Nov.abel" 10, 1988
Pa9. 'rW0
Aa • generAl proposition, the word
o r191nally ...nt •• • or ·salary,- but •• otber
b.net1t. ha•• it h•• to hev. a
•••ni n9, and 1. now use4 to include both ••1Ary
and frLn9. benefit.. qu •• or whlch me.nln9 wa.
intended 1ft section 19 i. celtical, since the courts
h.ve th.t where th. Constitution requlr•• tbe
Le9i.1ature to ••cribe· .ameth1n9, the Leg1alature
.Y8t do .0 It•• lf, .nd may not leave or deleqate the
tunctlon to another body or person. County of Kadera v.
Superior CoutS (1974) 39 C.A.Jd 665.
For re••on. which vill belov, we
belleve that ·compen•• t1on- .s Ysed 1n Section 19 reCers
only to the ••l.ry which 1. the of the
judiclal ottlce. The Attorney Gener.l does not agree.
S•• , •• 9., S, Ope. Cal. Atty. Cent 496; 6l Ope. Cal.
Atty. a.n. 31S. w. note initially th.t jud9•• , like
other elected .re p.id under the law
rule that the 11 an incident of the oflic••
Consequently, they do not technically hay. such benefits
a. vacltlon, sick leave or overtime, which otherwise
alvht be considered a p.rt of compensation.
R••din9 18 ae a whole, it appear. that the
word. "coapen••tion- and ere
inte(chan9••b1y; that is, "salary'l in the second
sentence 'PP4ars to refer to the "compensation­
prescrib4d purau.nt to the first sentence.
Th1. r ••dln9 of Section 19 i. supported by the t.ct
that Article VI, Section 20 provldes:
"The Legislature sh.l1 provid. for retir.ment, with
r •••onable .llowanc., of judgea of courts of record
tor a;e or dlsAb111t,."
If aa used in Section 19 was intended to
include triD98 ben.tit. such •• benerits,
there would b. no need for Section 20.

82/26/2eBe 1&:82 6262372883
JUDICIAL WAT(>4 INC
Pc.GE 19/43
.'

Hr. Frenk S. Solin
Nov..be C' 10, 1 , as
'.9- Thr..
Prior to Art1cle VI, Section 19 (vhieh was
196'). jydlcial ..tlon w•• provided under
91, S.ctlon 11, which r ••d in p.rtl
added 1n

"The •• of the ju.t-Ices ot" j ud9 •• ot .u
court. 0 .h&ll be fixe4
f
.n4 th. payMent
ther80f pr ••cr1bed by the Le9ial.tuce.-
Thi. langU4V. a;a1n sU99••tl
ratber than other benefita.
the payment ol a salary,
The pre4ece••or to Article VI, Section
Article VI, Section 17, which pcov1deda
11 ••
"The juetic•• of the Supreme Court and of the
Distr1ct of Appeal, and the judge. or the
.uperlot court., .hall leverallf' at times
during their continuance in oft ee, recelve for
their aervlce such compen•• tion a8 ia or shall
provided by lAW, The sal.ri •• of the ju49•• of the
court, in all eounties heviMQ but one
judve, an4 1n .11 count i •• in which the term. of
the •• of the Bupecior court expire at the same
tl•• , .hall not her •• lter be incr ••••d or
diminished .rter their election, nor the
ter. tor which they 'h.ll h&ve b•• n elected. Upon
the adoption this the s.la:1•• then
e8t.b118hed by law shall be paid unitormly to the
juatleea and judges then 1n ottlee. The salaries
of the justice. ot the Supreme Court and of the
Olatrict of Appeal be paid by the
State. One h.lt of the SAlary of each sup.rioe
cour' jud9••hall be by the St.t8J .nd
halt thereof .hAll paid by the county tor
which he 18 elected, On and after the first day of
J&nU8ry, A.D. 1907, the jUItice8 oC the Supreme
Court sh.ll each rlceive an annual salary of
$8,000, and the ju.tice. of the several Diatrict
Court. of App•• l shall .ach receive en annual
salarr of $7,000, the •• 1d salar1ee to be payable
IDOnth ,."
rer•• r Section
·compensation­
11 elso to use the
and w•• l ary" lntlrchanQeably.
/1, '3
1&: 82 6262312ee3
JUDICIAL WATCH
PAGE 2e/43
"
Hr. rcank S. &011n
November: 10, 1981'
P.g. rour
The laft9ua,. of former Sect10n 17 1. directly
trac.able to the COnatltutlon of 1879, an4 thence to the
Con.tltutloft of 11.9.
Artlcle VI, S.ctlon 15 at the Conetltutlon of 1849
prOYide4r
-The Juatlce8 of the Couct, and Jud9•• ot
the Dlatrict Court, sh.ll severally, at stated
tl... durin; their continu.nce In office, reo.iv,
toe thelc servic•• a co-pen.atlon, to be paid out
of the tr ••• which shAll not be incre•••d or
d1.1n18hed duriA9 the ter- tor which they shall
have be.n .1ected. The County JUdqes shall 41so
••v.call" at atated ti••• , r.celv. tor their
••fyie-•• co.pen••tlon to paid out of the
county tr ••• of their re.pect1ve counties, whjch
'hAll not be lncr•••• or dimini.hed dur1n9 the
term which they eh.ll have been
It 1. 01••1' that weompensltion" as used in Section
15 meant M.alary.- POt th.t we doubt that
public offlcSal. in eith.r 1849 or 1879 received much in
the w.y 01 fr1nge benet1ta any
Thus, hlatorlc.l1y N compens.t1on" for judges has
b••n and under.toO<! to m... n "salary," And this hAS
carried ovec to the pre•• nt day.
The Legi.lature ha. interpreted the constitutional
lan9uage in the •• way. 1.5 at Titl. 8 of the
Government Code (Sections 68200, et seq.) entitled
•• tlon of JU8tic••• •• or Court. ot
Record." It d••l. with salary and not with
fring. benetit. or any other torm of
Similarly, Code Seceion 7S00J, which is a
part of the Jud9•• - Retirement define. ·selaryM
follow.:
me.ns the eompens.tJon received by •
judve a8 the eaolument. of the oEfie. of: judge .••• ••
Ie-! tj
e2/2&IZeee 1&:62
JUDICIAL WATCH INC
PAGE 21/43
..
Kr. Frank S. Zo11 n
Nov••ber 10, 1988
P.ge Five
we conclude that while the
Le91.1ature the .al.ry ot a auperior
court jud9. and ..y not d.leg.te r ••ponalbillty to
AnI otber pee.on or Artlcl. VI, Section l' of the
Ca do•• not prohibit the board ot
ot a county fra. providlno
b.netlta tor jud9•• in eounty. In fact.
the Leqls1.ture h ••• or required .uen
additional benetit. in .0•• in.t.ncea.
ror ••••pl., GOV8rnN.nt Code Section 53200.3
pcov14•• th.t are dee.ed to be county e.ployees
tor the 11-1te4 pucpo.e or th. application ot th.t
article (d••11n9 with 9roUP in.urance) and provides that
ju4ge8 are entitled to the lame or similar health and
weltlre benet its •• ace to of the
1n whioh the court i. loeated. Thua, judgee are
ele.rly .ntitled to dental and lite insurance
b.nctlte auch •• tho•• provided 1n the Fl •• ible Senefit

Government Code Section 53214.5
•• judge. to in deterred
compensation plan. establ1ahed by counties,
S.ct1on 53214.5 w•• probably inepired tn. existence
of d.ferred •• tlon plan•••tablished purSuAnt to
Section 457 ot the Internal Revenue Cod., 401(k) plana
auah •• ouc Savln9a Pl.n are also dererred compensation
pl.nlf and health care .nd dependent C4ce reimbursement
accounts •• well •• salary reduction
under the Plexlbl, Benefit Plan ace deterred
campen••tion An4 consequently we believe
that 'udge_' therein i8 author12ed by
Section 53214.5.
It 1. true that participlnt. in the Flexible
Benefit may elect to take ot all oe the
County'. contcibutlon aa taxable cAah, and that the
County provide...tehln9 conttibutlons to the 401(k)
plan. Wt b.118ve that thel. ben@flts are similarly
authorlze4 by Sectione 53200.) and 53214.5, linea they
Ir. part of the plana .uthorl1ed by those sections. In
addition, Government Code Sect10n 68206.6, whlch
prc9id•• for pay.ent of luperlor court jUQ9•• solely
J'r; A
&26'2371883
JUDICIAL WATCH
PAGE
.:
Mr. Fr.nk S. Zolln
November 10, 198'
Page st.x
tro•• county payroll, w•••dded tOt the speclfic
purpo•• ot to in
county caeeterla end 401(k) plan,.
low••• even that such benefit. are not
apec1t! ca111 by atatute, w. believe that the
•• provide them to •• , so 10n9 •• the
,"
Board of SUr_rYl.0rs tlndt that there i •• benefLt
the "dol"9 eo. This would a1.o be tcu. ot
other benefit. tor judge., such .8 • prote•• ional
development allowance or bonu8.
Supecior court judge. are tech"1c.lly St.te
conatltutional ottieer., but they .re in re.pecta
qu•• i-county officecs. Ther •• rve the populatlon of a
particular countr' the1r .a arie. are paid in part by
the county ln wh ch they .it, and as noted above, they
are d.emed to be county ••' eor purpose. or
partlclpatlon in h •• lth end 1 fe insurance program••5
well aa in 4.rerr.d compensation plans.
The •• lary of a superior court judge is the ••m•
• tat.wide. Thus,. jud,e in a rural county m.y
be well compen•• ted b•••d upon the cOlt ot living there
.nd In eOMperleon to what he could •• rn in privat.
pract1ce. On the other han4, judgee 1n Loa Angel ••
County Are cONpen•• ted based upon the co.t of
l1vlnQ here and in to what th.y could in
private practice. The 90.rd of Supec v !8oce h••
evidently found th.t 1n ocder to .ttraet and
retain quallfJed 'u4gel to .erve 1n this County, it i.
nece••ary and appropriate to provide with benefit.
luch .8 the Flexible Benetlt Pl«n contribution an4 the
401(k) matcb, which .re Available to employe•• in
the priv.te .ector, ae well as to CQunty ••• and
court And employees other thAn jud9•••
lip
282'8 1&:e2 6262372ee3
WATCH INC
PAGE 23/43
HI. rr.nlc s. %ol.in
Noveaber 10, 19••
Page S...n
It .. be nec•••&ry tor the of Supervl.ors to
provide additional benet it. foe jud ges in the future in
order to .. a hi9h level of judicial competenee
and pertor.ance in th18 County.
It we oan be ot turth.r ••• 1.tence to you in thl •
..
..tter, pl•••• lee u. know.
Very truly yours,
De WITT W. CLINTON
County Counsel
By "
ROGER M. WHITBY (
Senior A•• 1stant
county Counsel
APPROVED AND RELEASED:

County Coun••l
RMWr jk
NovlOW
I]

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