Contra Costa Lawyer. The Bench Bar Issue. The Arnason Justice Center. Volume 23, Number 9 October 2010 The official publication of the

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1 Contra Costa Lawyer Volume 23, Number 9 October 2010 The official publication of the The Bench Bar Issue B A R A S S O C I A T I O N The Arnason Justice Center

2 NOW WE CAN SPEND LESS TIME RESEARCHING AND MORE TIME LAWYERING. BEN SKJOLD PARTNER, SKJOLD-BARTHEL MINNEAPOLIS WestlawNext has people talking. Thousands of law firms, government agencies, and corporations have used the new legal research system for months, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Whether it s the proprietary new WestSearch technology, the advanced organization tools, or the research confidence it provides, users are impressed with the next generation of Westlaw. Hear what Ben and other customers are saying at WestlawNext.com Thomson Reuters L /8-10 Thomson Reuters and the Kinesis logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters.

3 Contra Costa Lawyer Volume 23, Number 9 October 2010 B A R A S S O C I A T I O N contents features Year in Review Presiding Judge's Perspective - Judge O'Malley Civil Law Perspective - Judge Goode Criminal Law Perspective - Judge Kennedy Family Law Perspective - Judge Cram Juvenile Law Perspective - Judge Haight Richmond Courthouse - Judge Maddock Walnut Creek Courthouse - Judge Kolin 18 High TEch solutions in the wake of the budget crisis Barry Lynch 20 A year of great change, challenge and opportunity for our adr programs Mindy Morgado 21 Doing less with less - impact of the state budget on the court Kiri Torre 22 Richard E. Arnason Justice CEnter - From vision to reality Lucy Fogarty judicial assignments departments 4 Inside Kiri Torre 6 President's message Ron Mullin 16 MCLE Spectacular Preview 24 Question Man Given the number of new judges on the bench, what can be done to ensure a strong relationship between the bench and the bar? 25 Bench/ Bar Relations Matthew Talbot 26 Annual Court Scholarship Presentation 28 Pro Bono A Conversation with Frank Acuña 34 Classifieds Cover Image: Architect's Rendering, Courtesy of HOK Architects

4 inside 2010 BOARD of DIRECTORS Ron Mullin President Kathy Schofield President-Elect Audrey Gee Secretary Jay Chafetz Treasurer Larry Cook Ex Officio Richard Alexander Amanda Bevins Christopher Bowen Oliver Bray Mike Brewer Leigh Johnson Kristen Thall Peters Alan Ramos Ron Rives Dana Santos Stephen Steinberg Candice Stoddard CCCBA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Lisa Reep: CCCBA main office: Jennifer Comages Membership Coordinator Emily Day Systems Administrator and Fee Arbitration Coordinator Manny Gutierrez Administrative Assistant and Legal Interviewer EDITOR Candice Stoddard CO-EDITOR Nicole Mills BENCH LIAISON Hon. Mary Ann O'Malley BOARD LIAISON Candice Stoddard COURT LIAISON Kiri Torre PRINTING Steven's Printing Contra Costa Lawyer PHOTOGRAPHER Moya Fotografx Kerstin Firmin Communications Coordinator Barbara Tillson LRIS Coordinator Michele Vasta Section Liaison/Education & Programs Coordinator EDITORIAL BOARD Mark Ericsson Matthew P. Guichard Patricia Kelly Craig Nevin David Pearson Erika Portillo Andy Ross Dana Santos Kathy Schofield Audrey Smith Stephen C. Steinberg Marlene Weinstein The Contra Costa Lawyer (ISSN ) is published 10 times a year by the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA), 704 Main Street, Martinez, CA Annual subscription of $25 is included in the membership dues. Second-class postage paid at Martinez, CA. POSTMASTER: send address change to the Contra Costa Lawyer, 704 Main Street, Martinez, CA The Lawyer welcomes and encourages articles and letters from readers. Please send them to: Kerstin Firmin, CCCBA, 704 Main Street, Martinez, CA 94553; or to: The CCCBA reserves the right to edit articles and letters sent in for publication. All editorial material, including editorial comment, appearing herein represents the views of the respective authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of the CCCBA or the Board of Directors. Likewise, the publication of any advertisement is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product or service offered unless it is specifically stated in the ad that there is such approval or endorsement. by Kiri Torre Court Executive Officer This Bench-Bar edition contains reflections on 2010 from our Judicial Leadership Presiding Judge Mary Ann O Malley, Supervising Judges Barry Goode - Civil; John Kennedy - Criminal; Joyce Cram - Family; Lois Haight - Juvenile; Thomas Maddock - Richmond; and William Kolin - Walnut Creek-Concord was the second full year of significant economic challenges facing the California Judicial Branch and our Court in particular. These challenges have tasked our ability to continue to provide exemplary service to the public, since the Court has suffered a 20 percent loss of staff through attrition and layoffs. In this issue, we describe how the Court s budget strategy has begun to address the monumental budget reductions. Very difficult decisions have allowed the Court to remain financially solvent while some other courts struggle to manage these deep ongoing cuts. The mandated Court Closure days continued throughout California on the third Wednesday of each month through June 2010 to assist with the budget reductions. With fewer staff resources, the Court hired a top level Information Technology Director to assist the Court in the implementation of significant technology enhancements to enhance services to the public and to help mitigate the loss of staff. This issue provides highlights of achievements to date and a preview of initiatives to follow. The Court will also update readers on the challenges and opportunities concerning our Alternative Dispute Resolution Programs (ADR) in Many thanks to our ADR panel, consisting of 300+ members, who offer specialized expertise in 47 different subject areas. The overall settlement rate for cases referred to mediation remains in the 50% range and referrals to ADR continue at the rate of over 1,000 each year. We have also included an update on the completion and opening of the new Arnason Justice Center planned for November of We watched with anticipation as California's first state-funded courthouse took shape and began to resemble the artist s rendering of this institution of justice. The Court greatly appreciates its partnership with the Contra Costa County Bar Association and the local bar and is very pleased to share key information with the magazine s readers. Thank you for the continuing opportunity to participate.u 4 September 2010

5 We gratefully acknowledge the following principal SpOnsOrs Gala ReceptiOn in support of the Elder Law Center Commitments as of 9/17/2010 Platinum Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook CCCBA s Conservatorship, Guardianship, Probate & Trust Section GOld John A. Hartog JAMS JFK University Miller Starr Regalia Celebrating Judge Norm Spellberg (ret.) for his lifelong contribution to the Contra Costa Legal Community Morison Holden Derewetzky & Prough, LLP Silver Frankel & Goldware, LLP Thursday, NOvember 4, 2010 Gagen, McCoy, McMahon, Koss, Markowitz & Raines 5:30-7:30pm Guichard, Teng & Portello BedfOrd Gallery Dean Lesher RegiOnal Center for the Arts Walnut Creek Master of Ceremonies Bill Gagen $50 $25 for CCCBA Barristers or Law Student members Littler Mendelson s Walnut Creek Office McNamara, Ney, Beatty, Slattery, Borges & Brothers, LLP Shapiro Buchman Provine LLP It is not too late to join this exclusive group of supporters! Take advantage of sponsorship and pledge opportunities by calling today: Michele Vasta Contra Costa Lawyer 5

6 president s message by Ron Mullin Across the board, attorneys report some of the highest levels of burnout amongst any profession. However, practicing with, for, and against attorneys who are social and reasonable can help deal with the problem of burnout. Fortunately, Contra Costa County has a community of attorneys who are both social and reasonable. Even more fortunate, there is a place where the community comes together, along with a focus on continuing education: The Robert G. McGrath American Inns of Court. Inns of Court are designed to meld the professionalism and talents of the bench and the bar. The McGrath Inn is no different. It meets once every month at the Lafayette Park Hotel to help attorneys and judges learn more about the ever changing landscape of the law. At the meetings, attorneys learn to become better advocates for their clients, concentrating especially on ethics. Members get the opportunity to learn alongside judges. Each judge is assigned a Pupilage Group, which consists of approximately ten attorneys ranging in experience from law students to legal masters. At an Inns event, a judge and his or her Pupilage Group put on an entertaining performance about a legal topic of their choice. This program is a great way to provide MCLE credit, including difficult-to-obtain credits such as Prevention and Detection of Substance Abuse and Elimination of Bias in the legal profession. Pupilage Groups frequently present their programs with funny skits or in a game show-style manner. The programs generally last about an hour. Afterwards, all members enjoy a dinner catered by the Lafayette Park Hotel. During dinner, members make new acquaintances, reconnect with old friends, and help mentor less experienced practitioners. The dinners provide everyone with a relaxed atmosphere in which the Inn members can better get to know each other. Few other counties provide as many opportunities as Contra Costa does to get to know not just the local judges better, but members of the First District Court of Appeals as well. For solo practitioners and those who work in small to mid-size firms, the Inns of Court provide great networking and business opportunities. The days of the general practitioner are long gone, even in this county. Attorneys skilled in personal injury defense could never manage a probate, while a business attorney would be lost trying to handle a divorce matter. In these days of hyper-specialization, meeting attorneys outside your practice field is a great opportunity provided by the Inns of Court. The juvenile dependency attorney sitting next to the IP attorney never knows when he or she might find themselves with an IP case to refer and vice versa. Any level of experience is welcome at the Inns. Legal masters and judges are encouraged to provide mentoring to younger attorneys. They can view the Inns as a way to impart their knowledge to a new generation of attorneys. Younger attorneys can view the Inns as a way to gain expert insight not only into the inner workings of the legal profession, but also the inner workings of Contra Costa County itself. After a few meetings, they might find themselves easily striking up a conversation with any and all judges and master attorneys. We are fortunate to practice in such a congenial county with so many intelligent professionals. To take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Inns, please contact the Inns of Court President David Pearson at (925) or u Ron Mullin, a lawyer in this county for over 30 years, dedicates his practice to estate planning, wills and trusts, conservatorships/guardianships, business and commercial law, real property, and business formation. He also acts as mediator and arbitrator for disputed cases. 6 September 2010

7 After calling hundreds of attorneys, I finally found one that I can afford! - Moderate Means client Adriana Arenas. I never give up on protecting my client's interests. I want to be a champion. - Moderate Means attorney Mark Zeller Do you know someone with a family law or immigration issue, in need of quality, affordable legal support? Today, many of Contra Costa County s hardworking residents, living off moderate incomes, face the same legal dilemma. When a legal problem arises, they are caught between ineligibility for pro bono support and the inability to pay regular rates for private practicing attorneys. But quality and affordable legal support can now be a reality for moderate-income individuals - thanks to the Contra Costa County Bar Association s Moderate Means Program. Moderate Means Program Now Accepting Applications for Family Law and Immigration The Moderate Means Program refers qualified individuals to its panel of 16 attorneys. The attorneys agree to charge reduced hourly rates and a reduced retainer fee. For hourly rates, the attorneys are permitted to charge $ $ per hour. For the retainer fee, they are allowed to charge $ $ The initial 30-minute consultation is free. Eligibility for the program is based on the individual s income and household composition. Moderate Means is not a low-income or pro bono service. Interested clients must have a case in Contra Costa County. However, they do not have to reside in this county. To sign-up for the program, individuals must fill out a simple application, submit six weeks of the most recent pay stubs, and provide a $40.00 processing fee. For an application, please call Manny Gutierrez at (925) or Interested individuals can also visit for more information about the Moderate Means Program. For more information and materials, call MAnny Gutierrez or Barbara Tillson at (925) Contra Costa Lawyer 7

8 2010 Year In Review Presiding Judge Perspective Judge O'Malley Civil Law Perspective Judge Goode Criminal Law Perspective Judge Kennedy Family Law Perspective Judge Cram Juvenile Law Perspective Judge Haight Richmond Courthouse Judge Maddock Walnut Creek Courthouse Judge Kolin 8 September 2010

9 2010 Review from the Presiding Judge Hon. Mary Ann O'Malley When I last wrote to you as Presiding Judge last year, I mentioned that I had to deal with the lack of a statewide trial court budget, court closures, and two vacancies on our Bench. Well, déjà vu. Here I am again, awaiting a statewide trial court budget, which is 60+ days overdue as of September 1 st, shortened court clerk office hours, and a vacancy created by Commissioner Green s retirement. I really hate to sound like a broken record but it is what it is. One thing of which I am most proud and which hasn t changed is that I work with the most dedicated, hard-working employees on the face of the earth. They have endured the most trying time for a trial court that I can remember, and I have been around the trial courts since I am honored to have been their Presiding Judge throughout this ordeal. Last year the statewide trial court budget reductions totaled $393 million dollars. This resulted in a 12% cut to our own court budget. This year, as chair of the Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee, I, along with many other Presiding Judges from around the State, traveled to Sacramento to impress upon our legislators that this was not acceptable. A budget which results in a Court having to close its doors is simply justice denied. Staff from the Office of Governmental Affairs of the AOC worked tirelessly to create solutions for the trial courts budget woes. We realized we had to solve our own budget deficit or suffer cuts as deep as last year. Frankly, most of the trial courts would not have been able to survive another year like last year. With the help of our Chief Justice, Ron George, who urged the Governor to give us the relief needed to operate our courts effectively, and a creative budget proposal, we prevailed. I hope. The budget proposal for the trial courts is not great but not as devastating as last year. It will by no means put us on easy street but will allow us to keep our doors open. If enacted, it will also allow us to maintain the status quo, avoiding further layoffs, for which I am very grateful. One bit of very big news was the announcement that our Chief Justice will retire at the end of this year. Chief Justice Ron George has been an innovative, forward-thinking, courageous advocate for the administration of justice in California. Among his many accomplishments was the unification of our Superior and Municipal courts, creating a statewide trial court budget structure and acquiring and maintaining all the trial court facilities and courthouses statewide. All these changes have allowed us to become a better, stronger and more effective branch of government. I have had the opportunity to work with the Chief as a member of the Judicial Council. I saw first-hand what a committed advocate and leader he is for the trial courts. He will be missed. I also have the pleasure of knowing and working with our Chief Justice nominee, Tani Cantil-Sakauye. Like the Chief, I have every confidence that she will be a wonderful Chief Justice. She is intelligent, well-spoken, has worked in the Legislature, is hard-working and, I m sorry, guys, a WOMAN!!! Finally, I d like to end on a high note. We will soon be the very happy occupants of the new Richard E. Arnason Justice Center in Pittsburg. Our targeted move in date is October 29, This new courthouse is an absolute gem, just like our Judge Arnason. Also, I am nearing the end of my term as Presiding Judge. I am relieved to know that the Court will remain in very capable hands under the guidance of my colleagues, Diana Becton-Smith as Presiding Judge and Barry Goode as the Assistant Presiding Judge. Judge Becton-Smith is intelligent, well-spoken, hard-working and, guys, you know where I am going with this u Contra Costa Lawyer 9

10 Hon. Barry P. Goode Supervising Judge civil law In the judicial branch, change is generally slow but inexorable. So it has been with the Civil Division this year. There have been a few changes in recent months, but much has stayed the same. As of January 2010, Judge Flinn left the complex civil department and Judge Maddock left his fast track department, each after three years of dedicated service. They will be missed. Judge Cheryl Mills now sits in what had been Judge Maddock s department. Judge Goode occupies the complex civil department. In all other respects, the assignments remain the same. Judges Craddick, Zuniga and Baskin continue to serve in fast track civil departments. Commissioner Sanders still does her extraordinary work with discovery motions, ex parte applications, orders of examinations, name changes and the myriad of other things she handles. However, as described elsewhere in this magazine, in just a few more months Judges Craddick and Zuniga will move on to new assignments. They will be replaced by Judges Brady and Austin. The division is lucky to have had the benefit of two such experienced judges and is equally lucky to be getting two seasoned judicial officers to replace them. There has been one other noticeable change this year. In January 2010, the Court divided the work of the limited jurisdiction civil department among the other civil departments. So, now each of the five unlimited civil departments has a portfolio of limited jurisdiction cases as well. That means that at 8:30 a.m. (most mornings) the fast track and complex civil departments call a calendar of up to a dozen limited cases. It also means that from time to time they have trials of limited jurisdiction matters. The merger of the limited civil caseload with the unlimited civil caseload during this time of budget woes has created strains in the clerk s office. The Court s staff has shrunk by approximately 20% since the beginning of the current budget crisis with commensurate reductions in the Civil Division. With fewer clerks to process papers, the unlimited civil cases have gotten priority attention to the detriment of the limited cases. Thus, defaults, writs and abstracts, new complaints and loose filings have become seriously backlogged. The Court has devised a plan to address that backlog and will, hopefully, have it cleared by late September or early October. No one likes having this backlog, and we are all looking forward to having it eliminated. We appreciate the great effort that all our staff has made to try to keep up with a truly overwhelming workload. Other changes are more subtle. For example, in the complex department, trials are now scheduled in the mornings as well as the afternoons. And Department 19 is trying an experiment in recalendaring trials. If the parties agree that their case will be ready for trial in the next thirty to sixty days, they can contact the clerk. The Court will try to get them on calendar in lieu of a case that was previously set but has settled. Of course settlement is still very important. We are fortunate to have the active assistance of the CCCBA which together with Magda Lopez - is the engine that drives our alternate dispute resolution program. With their assistance, we were able to dispose of more than a thousand cases last year. We are on track to hit that number again this year. Although great attention is rightfully paid to alternate dispute resolution, and although much has been written about the demise of civil trials, that death has been much overstated. Indeed, as of this writing, four of the five civil departments are in the middle of trial. One department has been in trial two thirds of the time this year. Two years ago, writing in these pages, Judge Flinn discussed the use of e-filing in the complex civil department. He explained its benefits and looked forward to expanding its use to other unlimited civil cases and even some types of limited jurisdiction matters. He said we are now very close to making e-filing available for all unlimited civil actions... That was before the bottom dropped out of the budget. However, it is still a goal to be pursued once the budget situation improves. It seems inevitable that we will someday swap electrons for ink and paper. Change is, after all, inexorable, albeit slow. u 10 September 2010

11 criminal law Hon. John W. Kennedy Supervising Judge With apologies to the A s and the Giants, I would analogize our Criminal Courts trial team to the New York Yankees: We have an abundance of heavy hitters and a deep bench. We, however, manage to do it without steroids. Our Criminal Trial Departments are filled with a strong team of experienced trial judges. In Martinez, we have Judges David Flinn, Laurel Brady, Joni Hiramoto, Theresa Canepa, Jill Fannin, Leslie Landau, and John Laettner. Each of these Judges has the experience and ability to handle any felony trial, from the most routine petty theft with a prior to the most complex gang-related homicide. This depth of experience has given us a great deal of flexibility and the capacity to try the felony jury trials within the Speedy Trial time constraints and with less need to rely on our colleagues in the Civil Division. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, the District Attorney s office filed 3,867 felony cases almost exactly the same number as the prior fiscal year and 9,728 misdemeanor cases, down from 11,300 last year. We tried 115 felony jury trials to verdict, including 20 homicides and 23 sexual assault cases. We attribute much of our ability to dispose of all felony cases in a timely fashion to the efficient and effective Criminal Calendar work by Judge Brian Haynes. Judge Haynes combines his many years of experience in the District Attorney s Office with his innate sense of fairness to resolve the vast majority of felony cases by plea agreements that are satisfactory to both sides. As the felony Calendar Judge, Judge Haynes also manages a heavy load and a wide variety of pre- and post-trial proceedings in felony cases. Judge Clare Maier currently oversees our Proposition 36 and Misdemeanor Domestic Violence calendars, as well as felony motions and Preliminary Hearings. Judge Maier guides these challenging cases with her boundless energy, her deep compassion, and her fortitude to hold people responsible for living up to their obligations. With our ever-shrinking budgets, the Prop. 36 Drug Court program is running out of funding. We are presently funded through March 2011, and hope to secure additional funding to continue the program after that. The Drug Court no longer has a dedicated Probation Officer, so all Prop. 36 defendants are placed on Court Probation. Judge Maier also supervises the more serious Misdemeanor Domestic Violence cases once the defendants are placed on probation. Judge Hiramoto continues to manage our Behavioral Health Court ( BHC ) in addition to trying felony jury trials. In its third year, the BHC gives specialized and tailored attention to defendants who are diagnosed with an Axis I mental illness and are charged with a non-violent felony or misdemeanor. They are usually placed on two years supervision with appropriate mental health treatment. After working without a Probation Officer for a year, the BHC is fortunate to have a dedicated Probation Officer, Ms. Eku Sako, thanks to a federal stimulus grant. The BHC has survived massive cuts in state funding due to the valiant efforts of the Contra Costa County Adult Mental Health Services, the Probation Office, the District Attorney, the Public Defender, the Sheriff, community groups, and Judge Hiramoto. Attorneys with clients who may be eligible for BHC services may contact Dr. Martha Wilson at (925) for information. Our Mount Diablo calendar has been ably handled by Judge Harlan Grossman and Visiting Judge Greg Caskey this year. Judge Grossman applies his nineteen years of bench experience to manage this high-volume calendar. Judge Caskey, our semi-permanent Visiting Judge, is a utility player with the ability to move from Mount Diablo to Pittsburg, to felony trials, to Family Court, and to Juvenile Court as the Court s needs shift. We continue to have the wisdom and experience of the Dean of our bench, Judge Richard Arnason, who handles our felony probation calendar. With over 45 years on the bench, Judge Arnason is a treasure trove of historical information, often based on his personal participation in the events that have shaped the Contra Costa Superior Court. Judge Joyce Cram presides over our Elder Court, including criminal cases alleging crimes against elder victims. Each of our Branch Courts is supervised by a Judge of tremendous and varied experience. Our Pittsburg Superior Court is headed by Judge Steve Austin, who has served in the Family Court, Felony Trial, and Civil Trial departments, as u Contra Costa Lawyer 11

12 well as the Branch Courts. Pittsburg is well served by Judges John Sugiyama, Trevor White, and Rebecca Hardie, and Commissioner Lowell Richards. We were thrilled to have Judge Hardie join our Bench and bring her wide breadth of civil and criminal experience to the Court. (Just don t challenge her to a battle with paintball guns!) We all look forward to the opening of the Richard T. Arnason Superior Courthouse, presently scheduled for late October. This beautiful new courthouse will house courtrooms dedicated to Family Court, Juvenile Court, and arraignments, as well as four traditional courtrooms to handle the caseload from our ever-expanding East County population. Our Richmond Superior Court is ably supervised by Thomas Maddock, who also has served in almost every division of our Court. The Richmond Court is fortunate to have Judges Peter Berger, Nancy Davis Stark, Barbara Hinton, and Edward Weil, and Commissioner Robert Broughton. Judge Weil was appointed September 1, 2009, and graces us with a sharp intellect honed by the California Department of Justice (notwithstanding his fondness for skydiving). The George D. Carroll Superior Courthouse in Richmond keeps busy with a wide variety of civil, criminal, and traffic matters, as Judge Maddock reports in his article. Judge William Kolin, another Judge with long experience in several divisions of the Court, supervises our Walnut Creek Superior Court, with Judges Bruce Mills and George Spanos and Commissioner Joel Golub holding down the fort. Please see Judge Kolin s article on the Walnut Creek Court for an update on their work. On March 30, 2010, our County Probation Officer, Lionel Chatman, retired after 34 years of service to Contra Costa County. Mr. Chatman began as a Probation Counselor in 1979 and worked his way through the ranks until he was appointed as the County Probation Officer on September 1, Mr. Chatman is respected and admired for his innovation and professionalism in supervising the Probation Department, particularly during the difficult budgetary constraints of the last several years. We are excited to welcome Philip Kader as our new County Probation Officer. Mr. Kader joins us from the Fresno County Probation Department, where he began serving in 1981 and rose to hold several upper-level management positions. When you meet Phil Kader, you will find a particularly warm and friendly man with endless enthusiasm and a deep commitment to the community and to effective probation services. Our Court remains blessed with Judges and Commissioners who work hard, work well together, and strive to resolve the cases before them with fairness, justice, and integrity to the law. Now, if we only had the Yankees operating budget... u Mark V. Murphy NEW SAN JOSE OFFICE! Personal Injury Referrals Requested Hon. Alfred Chiantelli (Ret.) Hon. James Emerson (Ret.) Hon. Richard Flier (Ret.) Hon. Richard Hodge (Ret.) Hon. David Lee (Ret.) Hon. Joanne Parrilli (Ret.) Over 25 years experience representing injury victims. Practice dedicated solely to Personal Injury. Each client given prompt, courteous attention. Antioch and San Ramon Offices Hon. Bonnie Sabraw (Ret.) Hon. Douglas Swager (Ret.) SAN FRANCISCO OFFICE Dorene Kanoh, VP 50 Fremont St., Ste San Francisco, CA tel Hon. James Trembath (Ret.) Stephen Blitch, Esq. Michael Carbone, Esq. Michael McCabe, Esq. NEW SAN JOSE OFFICE! 152 North 3rd Street Suite 603 San Jose, CA tel September 2010

13 Hon. Joyce Cram Supervising Judge Family law The Family Law Division, like all other divisions, has suffered from the serious budget shortfall. Although filings remain essentially unchanged, we are handling those filings, more than 4,000 per year, with fewer staff. To deal with this shortage, we have recently closed the Self Help Desk at 2:00 p.m. so that staff can have time to deal with filing, computer entries and other necessary behind-the-scenes tasks. On the other hand, we have a dedicated long cause trial department, thanks to Judge Ben Burch, to help resolve trials in an uninterrupted and efficient manner. Having Judge Burch at the ready to hear these trials has helped tremendously to clear up the backlog of our long cause trials. In addition, we have enlisted the help of one of the foremost family law experts to help cover calendars when a family law judge is away. That expert, of course, is Jim Libbey. Rather than a department going dark and cases getting continued, we have been able to keep the calendars going without interruption. It is so nice to have someone to help cover our calendars who knows the staff, the calendars and the attorneys. Finally, with the retirement of Commissioner Don Green earlier this year, we had the same dilemma of how to cover his very heavy calendar. Rather than have coverage every couple of days or a week at a time, we looked for a better solution. Fortunately for us, Virginia George was available to the Court to fill in on a full-time basis, at least until the Governor appoints someone to fill the position, which is now a judicial vacancy. I have been told countless times by family and probate attorneys what a wonderful job Virginia is doing and how nice it is to have consistency in covering a high volume and difficult calendar. Last but not least we look forward to moving a family law department to the Richard E. Arnason Justice Center early next year. This will be most helpful to Roger F. Allen Ericksen, Arbuthnot 155 Grand Avenue, Suite 1050 Oakland, CA families living in East County who will no longer have to commute to Martinez for family law matters. Hopefully it will also alleviate some of the wait time and congestion in Martinez. In the meantime Judges Cram, Treat, Scanlon, Burch and Fenstermacher, as well as Commissioners Berkow and Huffaker are doing an outstanding job in our family law division. u Northern California Mediator / Arbitrator 14 years as Mediator 23 years as Arbitrator 31 years in Civil Practice Training includes Mediation Course at Pepperdine University 1995 Serving on Kaiser Medical Malpractice Neutral Arbitrators Panel Settlement Commissioner, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties Pro Tem Judge, Small Claims, Alameda County Experienced in all areas of Tort Litigation, including injury, property damage, fire loss, malpractice, construction defect Contra Costa Lawyer 13

14 juvenile Hon. Lois haight Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court 2010 has seen changes in Contra Costa County Juvenile Court. We lost one judicial officer to another division which has impacted our courts tremendously. Calendars are larger and the cases are more complex. We have fewer clerks and shorter court hours due to budget constraints. The bench officers in Juvenile, Judges Smith, Davis, Stark, as well as Commissioner Houghton, have done a tremendous job juggling and balancing the cases this year with excellent teamwork between the judges and their staffs. A significant change in dependency has been the large reduction in dependency filings in West County. The result of this has been that when cases are finally filed, they are usually much more serious and take a lot more court and attorney time (not to mention the effect on children and families). The reduction in the above filings is offset by the enormous increase in dependency filings in East County. Our new juvenile court, which is expected to open in East County in November 2010, will be a welcome and much needed resource for those living and working in that area. We are all very excited about this new court and appreciate the opportunity to have greater access for our county participants. The budget issues, both state and local, have obviously affected many areas but I am pleased to report that our very valuable CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) program has remained stable and even increased its ability to serve the abused, neglected, abandoned and/or molested children in our County. Of all the programs we have to help children - and we have some very good ones - nothing comes close to the work of our wonderful volunteers in helping children grow to successful adulthood. They help create miracles, and when you add a good, loving foster home, a caring social worker and a devoted, committed attorney, we see wonderful results. Our delinquency statistics have remained approximately the same as last year throughout the County with very little change reportable. Our outstanding Chief Probation Officer, Lionel Chatman, retired this year after 27 years in probation. It was a big loss to probation to lose someone who has done so much for the department and the youth it serves. During his tenure, our valuable Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility increased all education, vocational and therapeutic programs. Their high school graduations rates are among the highest of all comparable programs in California. Our new Chief Probation Officer for both juvenile and adult, Mr. Phil Kader, was recruited from Fresno County and has been working with Mr. Chatman and others to learn about our County, and all reports regarding Mr. Kader are full of praise. We will have some new assignments in Juvenile soon for the year I can say without qualification, that those of us who work here love what we do and feel privileged and honored to be able to help protect children, reunite families when possible, and participate in adoptions when appropriate. Further, we sincerely appreciate the outstanding work of the attorneys who devote themselves to our youth and families. u Looking for a Personal Financial Advocate? Fee based financial planning & investment management Objective advice Fee transparency Fiduciary accountability Call me to schedule a complimentary consultation Paul Saad Financial Advisor, MBA Oak Rd., #120 Walnut Creek, CA Investment Advisor Representative, Safeguard Financial and Insurance Services, a Registered Investment Advisor. Registered Representative, Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and Safeguard Financial and Insurance Services are not affiliated September 2010

15 Richmond Court The George Carroll Courthouse Hon. Thomas M. Maddock Supervising Judge 2010 has been a great year at the George Carroll Courthouse in Richmond. Judge Hinton, Judge Weil, Judge Berger and Judge Stark join Commissioner Broughton and me as we hear all of the West County Felony Preliminary hearings (PX's), Misdemeanor Jury Trials, Small Claims cases and Appeals, Traffic cases, Domestic Violence cases, Unlawful Detainer matters and both Juvenile Dependency and Delinquency cases. We are operating with one less judge than historically assigned to this courthouse and through re-engineering of the calendaring and case assignments, together with the excellent staff effort, we are getting all the work done including any increases in case load. We have instituted a new trial by declaration procedure for traffic tickets when the defendant has failed to appear after notice and a signed promise to appear. This process allows us to eliminate a 5-year-old backlog on traffic tickets and also eliminate all of the warrants formerly issued. We have a new simplified request for trial de novo for such cases, when the defendant responds in a timely manner. There is also a new procedure for trials by declaration when requested by the defendant that eliminates unnecessary appearances. Finally, we have a new vendor for collection of traffic fines that will set up payment plans for those who require them, dramatically reducing the need for extra court appearances. Criminal trials are held on Mondays and Wednesdays. Felony PX s are heard 5 days a week. Unlawful Detainer cases are heard on Monday mornings as are Domestic Violence Restraining Orders. Law and Motion on criminal is heard on Tuesday and Friday afternoons and civil motions are heard Monday mornings. Traffic and small claims are heard Monday through Friday with extended hours to 8:00 PM on Wednesdays. Effective October 4, 2010 the Unlawful Detainer calendar will be heard by Commissioner Broughton, which will allow more time on Monday to start jury trials. u Walnut Creek Court Hon. William M. Kolin Supervising Judge The Walnut Creek branch Court of the Contra Costa Superior Court has three assigned judges: Judges Kolin, Mills and Spanos. Commissioner Joel Golub is also assigned to the Court for traffic, small claims and other matters. Our Court is responsible for all misdemeanor cases filed in both the Walnut Creek-Danville Judicial District as well as the Mt. Diablo Judicial District. We do felony out-of-custody arraignments on all misdemeanors and felonies arising from cases originating within those two judicial districts. We are primarily a trial court and have four jury trial settings each week. We do both in-custody and out-of-custody misdemeanor jury trials, and handle outof-custody preliminary examinations on felony matters in our Court. u Contra Costa Lawyer 15

16 MCLE Spectacular Breakfast Kickoff MARK TUFT Partner, Cooper, White & Cooper; Vice Chair, State Bar of California, Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct; Co-Author, California Practice Guide on Professional Responsibility for Lawyers Forces of Change in the Practice of Law: Who Will Be Ready and Who Will Be Responsible? Recent economic and regulatory developments foretell significant changes in the practice of law. Market conditions, technology, lawyer mobility and regulatory changes here and abroad pose new challenges and ethical responsibilities for California lawyers and law firms. This program will survey significant developments in the law of lawyers, including the comprehensive new set of rules the State Bar is recommending for adoption by the Supreme Court, regulatory changes proposed by ABA Ethics 2020, proposed new federal regulation of lawyers and recent court decisions on non-consensual screening, fees and professional liability. Book signing to follow presentation Luncheon TOM RUNDALL Professor and Former Executive Associate Dean, UC Berkeley s School of Public Health The Challenge of Building a Better Health Care System: How does the Affordable Care Act propose to increase access, improve quality and lower the cost of medical care? After a contentious political struggle, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L ), an ambitious set of reforms designed to increase access to health insurance, slow the growth of health care costs, and improve the quality of care. But, there is a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding about what is included in the Act and when various reforms will take effect. This presentation will provide an overview of the major reforms and lay out the timeline for the implementation of these reforms. Afternoon Plenary GUY ROUNSAVILLE Director of Diversity at Allen Matkins; Co-founder, California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP) Diversity: Inside/Outside Schedule Breakfast Kickoff 8:00-8:30am Registration 8:30-9:30am Program 1 hour Legal Ethics MCLE credit, plus book signing Concurrent Morning Seminars 8:00-9:45am Registration 9:45-11:45am Program 2 hours MCLE credit 6 Seminars from which to choose Luncheon 8:00-11:45am Registration 12:00-1:30pm Program 1 hour General MCLE credit Concurrent Afternoon Seminars 8:00-1:45pm Registration 1:45-3:45pm Program 2 hours MCLE credit 6 Seminars from which to choose Afternoon Plenary Session 8:00-3:45pm Registration 4:00-5:00pm Program 1 hour Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession MCLE credit As General Counsel at Wells Fargo, Guy Rounsaville became a leader in workplace diversity on the inside, including co-founding the California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP). As head of Allen Matkins corporate department from , and now its Director of Diversity, he became such a leader on the outside. Join us as Guy Rounsaville discusses the strong correlation between solid business practices and good diversity practices and how together they positively impact a business bottom line. 16 September 2010

17 MCLE Spectacular CONCURRENT MORNING SEMINARS 9:45 11:45am Registration 8:00am 9:45am CONCURRENT Afternoon SEMINARS 1:45 3:45 pm Registration 8:00am 1:45pm SEMINAR #1 0.5 hour Ethics & 1.5 hours General MCLE Credit SEMINAR #1 SEMINAR #2 2 hours General MCLE Credit SEMINAR #3 2 hours Elimination of Bias MCLE Credit SEMINAR #4 0.5 hour Ethics & 1.5 hours General MCLE Credit SEMINAR #5 2 hours General MCLE Credit SEMINAR #6 2 hours Ethics MCLE Credit Planning for the Inevitable The Sale of Your Law Practice or Post Death Legal Proceedings co-sponsored by CCCBA, its CGPT, Elder Law & Taxation Sections Speakers: Commissioner Don E. Green Ret. Carolyn L. Rosenblatt R.N., Attorney & Mediator Dr. Mikol S. Davis CA Licensed Clinical, Psychologist, M/F/C Counselor Norman C. Lundberg Masterson, Calhoun & Lundberg Mark Ericsson Youngman, Ericsson & Low, LLP Arlene Segal (Moderator) Litigating in the 21st Century co-sponsored by CCCBA & its Litigation Section Speakers: Andrew Lloyd Managing Director, Litigation Media Group, LLC Wendy Graves Certified Reporting Services Brad Lipetz Benchmark Video Deposition Services Gender, Generations, and the Practice of Law co-sponsored by CCCBA & its Women's Section Speaker: Hon. Alice Vilardi & friends A Day in the Life of a Mediator: Vignettes of What Can and Does Happen in Mediation co-sponsored by CCCBA & its ADR Section Speakers: Hon. Richard S. Flier Ret. Claudia L. Bernard Chief Circuit Mediator, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Roger J. Brothers McNamara, Ney, Beatty, Slattery, Borges & Brothers, LLP David M. Miller (Moderator) CCP 998 Offers to Compromise The Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them! sponsored by CCCBA & its Appellate Section Speakers: Justice Stuart R. Pollak First District Court of Appeal, Division 3 Gary A. Watt Chair, CCCBA Appellate Section, Partner, Archer Norris LLC Don Willenburg Partner, Gordon & Rees LLP How Technology Can Get You Sued co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Family Law Section Speakers: Dana L. Santos CFLS David M. Lederman CFLS Carol Langford David S. Pearson From the Cradle to the Grave and Beyond co-sponsored by CCCBA & its Criminal SectionSections Speakers: David Pingitore Ph.D., Q.M.E. Patrick O'Reilly Ph.D. Make Lemonade! New Moneymaking Opportunities For Your Law Practice. (No Salesman Will Call) sponsored by CCCBA Speaker: Martin Dean Essential Publishers, Inc. The ABC's of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders - What You Need to Know or May Have Forgotten co-sponsored by CCCBA & its Family Law Section Speakers: Hon. Joni Hiramoto Karen Olsen Ethical Issues for Labor and Employment Lawyers co-sponsored by CCCBA & its Employment Law Sectio Speakers: Delia Isvoranu Filice, Brown, Eassa & McLeod, LLP Eric Angstadt Partner, Miller & Angstadt Carol Langford Putting Civility Back Into *&%$#& Civil Litigation (& Criminal Too) sponsored by CCCBA & its Litigation & Barristers Sections Speakers: Hon. Joyce Cram Linda DeBene JAMS Michael J. Ney McNamara, Ney, Beatty, Slattery, Borges & Brothers LLP William B. Smith Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP The Do's & Dont's of C&Ds - How not to get your Client sued co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Intellectual Property Section Speakers: Stuart J. West Managing Attorney, West & Associates, APC Charlotte Rodeen-Dickert Senior Associate, West & Associates, APC Running a Law Firm: Tips and Tricks for Solos and Small Firms co-sponsored by CCCBA and its Solo Section Speakers: David S. Pearson Dorianne Romero Plihon William A. Hickey Ann Dalsin SEMINAR #7 1 hour Substance Abuse & 1 hour General MCLE SEMINAR Credit #1 SEMINAR #8 0.5 hour Ethics & 1.5 hours General MCLE Credit SEMINAR #9 2 hours General MCLE Credit SEMINAR #10 2 hours Ethics MCLE Credit SEMINAR # hours Ethics & 0.5 hour General MCLE Credit SEMINAR #12 2 hours General MCLE Credit SEMINAR #13 1 hour Ethics & 1 hour General MCLE Credit Contra Costa Lawyer 17

18 High Tech Solutions in the Wake of the Budget Crisis by Barry Lynch Court IT Director In the April 2010 edition of the Contra Costa Lawyer, the Court Executive Officer, Kiri Torre, described how the Superior Court planned to focus on technological solutions to maintain critical services to the public during the budget crisis and significantly reduced staffing levels. The Court has restructured its Information Technology Division and redirected the division s efforts to better support judicial officers, staff, and the public. IT staff have been formed into two functional groups: infrastructure (hardware, software, network and phones); and application (case management systems (CMSs), statistics) support. The infrastructure group is focusing on the opening of the new Arnason Justice Center located in Pittsburg, and the complete overhaul of the Court s data network. The applications group is upgrading the civil case management system, to better support statistical reporting, and automating manual clerical processes. So, how is the Court doing on some of the 2010 priorities listed in the April article? Telephone System Upgrade new Interactive Voice Response A (IVR) system to provide a menu of choices to obtain information 24/7 without needing to talk to a clerk: Draft telephone message scripts for the traffic and criminal divisions have been completed and are under final review; drafting the remaining operational areas of the Court begins in September. The complete system is planned to be in place by the end of the calendar year. E-Citations The electronic submission of traffic citations from participating agencies to the court to eliminate manual data entry and expedite case processing time: The Court is currently identifying local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) that are actively considering the use of hand-held electronic ticketing devices for issuing traffic citations. The Court s goal is to create a single data exchange interface for all county LEAs to use to transfer data to the Court s case management systems eliminating the need for manual clerical data entry. Credit Card Payments at the Public Counter The ability to pay by credit card at the public counters: The Court is completing the installation of additional telephone lines to support credit card machines at the public counter windows in all county courthouses. Credit card payments are scheduled to be effective November 1 st. Expansion of Information on the Court s Web Site The Court is in the process of redesigning and enhancing its website. The 18 September 2010

19 Business Planning, Information and Programs Division is completing the redesign of the public web site, with improved navigation and expanded, reorganized content. The new site will be available to the public by the end of Electronic Filing of General Civil Documents Addressing system issues affecting e-filing on complex civil litigation cases: The Court has identified the system problems affecting e-filing in complex civil cases and is working with the vendor to resolve them. Once the application updates have been installed, the Court will analyze the impact of e-filing on court staff resources before deciding whether to extend e-filing to general civil cases. This analysis is planned to be completed by the end of the calendar year. Stay tuned for further updates from the Court. u Financial Planning Trust and Estate Services Private Banking Investment Management It s more than a matter of trust. It s a matter of getting the job done when your client needs trust and investment management services. Our team has the experience, expertise, and depth to handle the most complex situations. Or the simplest. Qualified Domestic Trusts Charitable Remainder Trusts Business Ownership Interests As a Corporate Trustee, Co-Trustee, or in any number of other roles, we provide unique custom solutions rather than pre-packaged products. We re also independent and locally owned. So while the big banks are focused on their balance sheets, we re focused on serving you and your clients. And after more than 100 years, people trust us for who we are. And for what we do Some Wealth Management products may not be FDIC insured, may lose value and may not be bank guaranteed. Business Succession Planning Commercial and Residential Real Estate MEC 3071 _CCLA_AD_4.6875X4.5625_V3.indd 1 2/5/10 4:47:50 PM and Mediation Center Specializing in accountings for: Trusts Probates Guardianships Conservatorships A unique and effective style - a great mediator Candice Stoddard Ron Mullin Barbara Hasey 1128 Daniel Lane Concord, CA Willows Office Park p 1355 Willow Way, Suite 110 Concord, California Telephone (925) p Facsimile (925) Contra Costa Lawyer 19

20 A Year of Great Change, Challenge and Opportunity for Our ADR Programs by Mindy Morgado, Deputy Executive Officer This past year has seen significant change in our Court s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program. In April of 2009, Mimi Lyster, who greatly enhanced our Court s ADR program and supervised it with great success for many years, transitioned into her current role as Director of Business Planning, Information and Programs. Magda Lopez was then called upon to absorb the ADR Program Administrator responsibilities as part of her ongoing duties as Director of Court Programs and Services and she has done an outstanding job as well. The burgeoning budget crisis also forced us to make significant staffing reductions in the ADR program. Change continued, as Presiding Judge Mary Ann O Malley expressed a desire to make service on the Court s panel of civil mediators as attractive as possible for experienced litigators. Judge O Malley worked with the Court s ADR Committee - which is chaired by Hon. Judith Craddick and includes Hon. Barry P. Goode, Hon. Cheryl Mills, Magda Lopez and CCCBA attorney members Thomas Beatty, Andy Schwartz, Peter Mankin, David Miller, Kelly Balamuth, John Warnlof, and Lynn Yerkes - to determine the appropriate education and experience requirements for civil mediators. In late May of 2009, Judge O Malley hosted a forum open to all CCCBA members to discuss this topic. By January of 2010, Local Rule 203 had been amended to allow persons with alternative qualifications to join the court s civil mediation panel. The Court s ADR Committee is completing the cycle by collaborating with the CCCBA s ADR Section to create a fair and efficient process for evaluating these applications. The efficacy of the Court s partnership with the CCCBA and its members, coupled with the ADR program s well-deserved reputation for excellence, has ensured the ongoing success of the program. Our ADR panel has 300+ members who offer specialized expertise in 47 different subject areas. The overall settlement rate for cases referred to mediation remains in the 50% range and referrals to ADR continue at the rate of more than 1,000 each year. Surveys completed by participants in the ADR process routinely include comments such as this recent one: [our mediator] was intelligent, thoughtful, concerned, compassionate and very effective. In short, this has been a year of great change, great challenge and great opportunity for our ADR programs. u Law Offices of Candice E. Stoddard 1111 Civic Drive, Suite 380 Walnut Creek, CA Candice E. Stoddard Personal Injury Real Estate Litigation Trust and Estate Disputes Mediation n fax Practicing law in the East Bay for over 25 years Wanted Conservatorships think Matt Toth as in Pedder, Hesseltine, Walker & Toth, LLP oldest partnership in Contra Costa County (since 1955) p f Golden Gate Way, P.O. Box 479 Lafayette, CA AV Martindale-Hubbell 20 September 2010

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