Tuesday, June 13, 2006
‘Tim’ McCoy Running Unopposed in Election for Superior Court Assistant Presiding Judge
By TINA BAY, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles “Tim” McCoy Jr. is likely to win unopposed for assistant presiding judge of the court for 2007 and 2008, Presiding Judge William McLaughlin said yesterday.
McCoy will likely run unopposed because candidates normally announce their candidacy in the spring and there has not recently been talk around the courthouse of another candidate, the presiding judge said.
But he is not officially unopposed, McLaughlin explained, since nominations for the position are not actually made until the end of September.
McCoy released a “Dear Colleague” letter on May 22 announcing his candidacy for the internal election, which will take place at the beginning of October per Local Rule 1.3.
Not Political Campaign
McCoy shared his thoughts on the position in an interview yesterday with the MetNews.
“I do not see this as a political campaign and I don’t think the judges view it that way either,” McCoy said, “because we all just want what’s best for the court.”
McLaughlin and Assistant Presiding Judge J. Stephen Czuleger encouraged him at the end of 2005 to consider running for the position, McCoy said. The primary reason, he explained, is that he has had a number of positions over the years that have given him a rich understanding of the court and its role locally and statewide, for example his experience as managing judge of the complex litigation courts.
“I thought about [whether to run] for many days because this is one of the most difficult leadership positions I’ve ever encountered. The challenges to our court system are enormous,” McCoy said.
Judicial Council Member
Presently in his second year as the civil supervising judge at the Stanley Mosk courthouse, McCoy is also a member of the Judicial Council of California, to which he was appointed last year by Chief Justice Ronald M. George. He has been a member of the council’s executive legislative action network since 2001.
Additionally, he is a member of the Executive Committee of the Litigation Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
McCoy’s prior judicial experience includes service in the California Judges Association from 1996 to 1999 and the court’s governing Executive Committee from 1994 to 1996, as well as involvement in 16 different judicial committees, five of which he has chaired.
As assistant presiding judge, McCoy would support the work of Czuleger, who is expected to take over as presiding judge on Jan.1. McCoy’s role as assistant presiding judge would by tradition lead him to become presiding judge after Czuleger’s term ends.
“I have known Czuleger for many years. I work well with him,” McCoy said.
He said his two priorities as assistant supervising judge would be to support and advise Czuleger and to continue playing an active role in the Judicial Council of California.
“While I don’t ‘represent’ the Los Angeles Superior Court, I do make sure that our experience is heard and fully considered when important decisions are made by the judicial council. We as a court have been successful in persuading the judicial council to place some of our best people on judicial council committees and the judicial council itself,” McCoy said.
He explained that the council is about to install three new members from Los Angeles County: Judge Carolyn B. Kuhl, supervising judge of the complex litigation courts; Judge Peter Espinoza, supervising judge of the Norwalk-based southeast district and the next expected assistant supervising judge of criminal courts; and Judge Terry Friedman, who sits in Santa Monica and is president of the California Judges Association.
“Los Angeles is going to have four members now, which is very important and encouraging from our perspective,” McCoy said.
While it is not the assistant presiding judge’s role to set priorities for the court, McCoy said he is interested in seeing the court tackle funding, facility, and technology issues.
“Our court needs stable funding and that’s proved in the last few years to be a real challenge for the Los Angeles Superior Court system,” he said.
In addition, McCoy said court facilities are becoming a larger problem for the county. “The political system has not yet resolved how they’re going to maintain the courthouses we have and build new ones as we need them—and we are going to need them, because L.A. is growing. When Mosk was built in the 1950s, it was built to last 100 years. That seems like a long time, but in the scheme of public service, the 2050s are not far away.”
McCoy also explained that the court’s current DOS-based case management system, developed in the 1970s as a patchwork of software from various different local agencies, is “way behind the times.” He said that he has been an advocate of bringing technological improvements to Los Angeles courts, and hopes to see the court come to accommodate digital, internet-based filing and service.
During his term as assistant presiding judge, he said he would participate in the evaluation and implementation of the California Case Management System, new software developed by the judicial council in consultation with Deloitte and Touche and administrators and judges statewide.
“We’re getting ready soon to roll it out and test it in some phase of our system. It’s very important that L.A. be a leader in implementing this, and we are going to do that,” McCoy said. “This revolution is going to happen in the next five years, so I’ll be deeply involved in it.”
Despite his macro-level institutional concerns, McCoy said his vision is centered on individual courtrooms, judges, and court staff members.
“My leadership focus is supporting and encouraging those who directly provide services to the public. I am an extrovert and I value friendships and colleagues. I’m an encourager and like lawyers, judges, and people,” McCoy said.
Edith Matthai, president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, told the MetNews, “[McCoy] has done a really nice job as supervising judge, and the thing that I have very much appreciated from the bar side is that he’s been very responsive to issues that we have brought to the court.”
McCoy, 59,was appointed to the court in 1992 by then-Gov. Pete Wilson.
Before coming to the bench, he served as chief of staff to Matthew Fong when Fong was a member of the State Board of Equalization, and was a partner in Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton’s Los Angeles office, where he practiced for 17 years.
McCoy graduated from Purdue University in 1968 and from University of Texas School of Law in 1975. He spent four years prior to law school serving as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, and received a Navy Commendation Medal for his service in Vietnam.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company