Kern County Community Outreach

Vision Statement
The Superior Court of California, County of Kern, is dedicated to the principles of providing even handed justice, accessible courts, and administrative consistency. To that end the Superior Court of California, County of Kern, is committed to working cooperatively with the Kern County community, Court stakeholders, and Court personnel in the fulfillment of the Court's mission.

Mission Statement
The mission of the Superior Court of California, County of Kern, is to impartially dispense justice to all residents of the County of Kern.

Kern County Judges' Speakers Bureau
The Kern County Superior Court has a speaker’s bureau which will provide judges or commissioners to speak to any group which seeks information about the duties and responsibilities of Judges and Commissioners.
While a judicial officer may not speak about a pending case, they can explain the judicial process and the factors which can be considered in reaching a decision. They can also speak about the process of becoming a Judge and the paths that lead to that position.
To request a speaker for your group, contact the Judicial Secretary

Strategic Plan

The Superior Court of California, County of Kern, is developing a long-range strategic plan prompted by the California Judicial Council's direction. The Kern County Community Outreach effort began in 1998 with a committee chaired by Judge Randall of the Superior Court. The strategic plan requires the development of external and internal effort that will focus the limited resources of the Courts on meeting their designated mission. This plan was developed in the context of persistent trends in the local economy, the large size of the county which approximates the square mileage of some states, diverse communities of Kern, and the input of stakeholder groups that will rely on the courts for a wide array of services.

The Superior Court, County of Kern, serves a vast area of the southern San Joaquin Valley that is primarily a resource-based economy, a sizeable mountain area, and a large expanse of the northern Mojave Desert. The Kern economy continues to lag behind that of other counties because of the cyclical nature of the agricultural, military support, and petroleum industries that comprise the largest segments of the Kern economy. Despite these economic problems, portions of the Kern County area realize significant growth in population resulting from the reasonable cost of living and close proximity to the large metropolitan areas of Southern California. These trends, which are predicted to continue for the next five years according to the Kern County Board of trade, have resulted in the difficult challenge of providing services to a growing constituency with a declining or stagnant allocation of local resources.

Kern County is as diverse as it is large. The county seat, which is in Bakersfield, is home to over one-half of the County's residents and continues to struggle with growth and economic issues. Other large concentrations of the populace have grown as a result of their local community's unique needs: Ridgecrest and Mojave in the east are aligned with military institutions that provide employment; Rosamond to the southeast provides reasonably priced homes to Los Angeles commuters; Taft and other smaller communities in the southern area of Kern are contiguous to large petroleum fields that have been in operation since the early 1900's; and Lamont and Arvin to the south, and Delano and Shafter to the north provide services and homes to the workers who labor in the fields of the large farms and ranches in the county. Kern County produces a multitude of products including cotton, citrus, nuts, vegetables that are exported throughout the United States and internationally.

Given these considerations the Kern County Community Outreach has developed the following strategic plan to address the following areas of concern:

  1. Access to the courts

    The courts in Kern County have established decentralized services for the local communities they serve as key components of its strategic plan. Given the significant distance between the county seat and the other communities distributed throughout Kern, the convenient and timely provision of services to the remote areas of Kern require continued dedication of resources to regional court centers located in seven locations throughout the county, including Ridgecrest, Mojave, Lake Isabella, Shafter, Delano, Lamont, and Taft. The regional court centers ensure reasonable access to the courts by residents throughout Kern.

    To ensure that these courts meet their mission, the following key needs have been identified:

    1. Facilities: The facilities must provide sufficient courtrooms and administrative space to adequately meet the needs of the community and court staff. These facilities must provide community residents a safe and secure location to conduct court business.
    2. Services: The continued decentralization of key services and court matters traditionally heard only in the metropolitan Bakersfield area is essential to the long-term viability of the regional court centers. The Kern Community Outreach Committee, coupled with the strategic plan will provide the necessary input to identify the key services that require decentralization.
    3. Infrastructure: The implementation of a diversified technology plan will interconnect the regional divisions centers with the metropolitan divisions, providing access to coordinated case management systems and facilitating improved communication between judicial offers and support staff.

  2. Resource Allocation Shortfalls

    The County of Kern continues to grow in population due to the reasonable cost of living and quality of life it offers residents. Public resources, including financing, facilities and personnel have not kept pace with the exceptional growth, which has resulted in the court's having fewer resources than required to meet the growing demand for services.