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A Better Partnership
May 13, 2009

Chief Justice Kelly on her goals as Chief Justice

Fittingly, as our interview occurred on Law Day, Chief Justice Kelly explained that among her goals as Chief Justice was improving access to the courts.

OCJ Blog:' What goals do you have now as the newest chief justice of this court'

CJ Kelly:' Well, my goals are emerging, but I can say that I'm particularly interested in improving access to the courts for people.' Not just the underprivileged, the economically underprivileged, but even the middle class' for whom it's often too expensive to go to court.' I'm' particularly concerned about criminal indigents who have' to rely on the State to provide them attorneys for their defense.' And the statistics show that they are so badly underpaid in this state that we're almost at the bottom' of the ranking of the entire United States.' I'm' interested in -- very interested in doing what can be done to improve the public's perception that the system' is fair and unbiased.' I'm very aware that great segments of our population believe that those who are' not in the minority, for example, are treated more fairly.

I'm very concerned about transparency, and I've been an advocate of our doing all our administrative work, to the extent at least that it's not involving personnel matters and things of that sort, in public and letting the public see how we operate when we make rule changes and do other things that are strictly administrative.' I'm very interested in these bad economic times in seeing initiatives that are underway' to improve the courts continue.' And so I, in testimony to the Senate and to the House, have urged the use, if necessary, of federal stimulus money for the continuation and growth of drug courts and mental health courts and also for handling the problems that have arisen as a result of the closing of the crime lab in Detroit.' I also have urged the use of stimulus money to allow us to bring our computerization technology into the 21st century, because it's moving so fast and it's expensive.' And so' I'm, as I said earlier, interested in seeing technology' be a major concern of our court.

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