June 23, 2013 |
Over the years, Judge Michael Nash, who supervises the Los Angeles Juvenile Court, has been tough and persistent. Bucking a long-standing tradition of secrecy, he opened courtrooms in Dependency Court, where the futures of young people in foster care are decided, and he waited out the uproar that ensued without wavering. He regularly confronts some of society's most dispiriting failures and yet he's remained a tireless - and generally upbeat - advocate for children. Last week, though, I found him in an uncharacteristically glum mood.
March 24, 2012 |
There are many things that need to be done on a Saturday. Take the car in to be fixed. Watch the kid play soccer. And, if you live in Louisiana, go vote for who you want to become president. A sojourn at some polls here, though, indicated that many people had more important things to do on Saturday than vote. In a lush field next to a polling station, Michael Nash, 38, was watching his young son swing at a ball on a T-ball stand. He was planning to vote, sure, but he wanted to spend some time with his family first.
March 19, 2012 |
We're in the second month of a vitally important experiment at the Los Angeles County Dependency Court, where court officers and others are wrestling with what it means to be watched. So far, so good: The public has gotten a look, not one child has been hurt, and awareness is slowly growing. Taking advantage of the order by Michael Nash, the presiding judge of Juvenile Court, I made another trip recently to the Monterey Park courthouse where Dependency Court is housed. Just a few months ago that would have been unthinkable, as dependency hearings - where the fates of children in the foster care system are decided - were closed except in unusual circumstances.
February 12, 2012
Judge Michael Nash, who presides over the Los Angeles County Juvenile Court, has long argued that public access to the court's proceedings would improve its accountability and the accountability of those who appear before it. Last week, he set out to prove it. Nash, along with this page, had supported state legislation that would change the presumption that dependency court hearings, in which the fate of children in foster care is decided, should...
November 10, 2011
Michael Nash, the presiding judge of Los Angeles Juvenile Court, has long lobbied for legislation that would allow the public greater access to the work of California's dependency courts, where the fates of children in foster care are decided. Twice, bills have been introduced in Sacramento to achieve that important objective, only to be stymied by well-meaning but misguided objections from child welfare advocates and self-interested protests from public employee groups whose members would face greater scrutiny.
June 4, 2006 |
Victor slouches into a bustling courtroom at Los Angeles County Children's Court. He would be tall, if he stood up straight, and broad, if his shoulders didn't follow his eyes to the floor. He doesn't look sullen or defiant. He just looks like a big kid, humble and out of place in this room full of busy grown-ups. When the judge glances up from her papers and smiles at him, he smiles back, just a bit. At 19, Victor has already lived a life that takes a few tellings to get straight.