Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, July 31, 2008


Page 3


Court of Appeal Justice William D. Stein to Retire


By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer


Court of Appeal Justice William D. Stein of the First District’s Div. One has announced that he plans to step down August 31 after 24 years on the bench and join ADR Services Inc. as a private judge.

Stein, 67, told the MetNews that it had taken him a year to arrive at the decision, which was “not easy,” but he said that the time in life had come for him to move on after 20 years on the Court of Appeal.

“There comes a time when you have to stop kidding yourself,” he remarked self-deprecatingly, adding that his plans after retirement are to first “get some rest” and then travel before beginning his new job.

Stein was appointed to the Court of Appeal by then-Gov. George Deukmejian in 1988, but first joined the bench in 1984 when Deukmejian appointed him to the San Francisco Municipal Court. A year later, Deukmejian again tapped Stein for a seat on the San Francisco Superior Court.

He has since served on the California Judicial Council, as a member of the committees on Court Management and State Funding of Trial Courts and on the Federal-State Judicial Council.

A fourth generation native San Franciscan, Stein graduated from college at San Francisco State University in 1962, and then from Hastings College of the Law in 1965.

He joined the California Attorney General’s Office in San Francisco after graduation where—after earning admission to the State Bar of California the following January—he specialized in appellate cases. Stein later became a senior assistant attorney general and, just prior to his first bench appointment, served as the chief assistant attorney general in charge of the Criminal Division.

He also served from 1966 to 1969 in the U.S. Army Reserve, and then for the next 14 years as a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve’s Judge Advocate General Corps, ultimately attaining the rank of commander.

Stein said that his retirement marked the “culmination of a career” with the First District, pointing out that his first appearance as an attorney in 1966 was before the very court from which he was now retiring.

Noting also that both of his research attorneys had served with him for 20 years, Stein commented that his close relationship with his staff and colleagues on Div. One was the aspect of the position he would miss most.

Court of Appeal Justice Douglas E. Swager, who joined Stein in Div. One in 1995, called the justice’s retirement a “real loss” for the court, and said that he would be missed both as a colleague and a friend.

Characterizing Stein as a “war horse,” Swager praised the justice’s “tremendous insight” into cases, both criminal and civil, and recalled fondly that Stein was always prepared at every meeting of the justices with a binder full of “meticulously-made” notes.

Swager said he did not know who might be on the governor’s list as a possible replacement for Stein, noting that a vacancy in the First District’s Div. Five created by the retirement of Justice Linda M. Gemello in January had yet to be filled.

“We’re all wondering what’s going to happen,” he said.

Stein similarly declined to speculate, saying only that “I know I have little or no influence.”

A life member of the University of California Alumni Association, Stein belongs to the San Francisco Opera’s Medallion Society, the St. Francis Yacht Club, the United States Power Squadron, the Knights of St. John and the California Heritage Council where he serves on its Board of Directors.

He previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Girls Choral Association, and is a former member of the California District Attorneys Association, the Airplane Owners & Pilots Association and the Soaring Society of America.

Stein and his wife, Janice, enjoy opera, yachting, travel and their Samoyed, Taras.


Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company