Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Alameda Jurist Baranco to Receive 2009 Aranda Award
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Alameda Superior Court Judge Gordon S. Baranco will receive the 2009 Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award, officials said yesterday.
The award, which Chief Justice Ronald M. George is to present in October, is co-sponsored by the California Commission on Access to Justice with the Judicial Council, State Bar and California Judges Association.
It honors a trial judge or an appellate justice whose activities demonstrate ďa long-term commitment to improving access to justiceĒ and is named for the late South Bay Municipal Court judge who was the founding chair of the Judicial Councilís Access and Fairness Advisory Committee.
In choosing Baranco, officials cited his work in establishing the Alameda Countywide Homeless and Caring Court, which he has presided over since its inception in 2004, and in helping to establish other homeless courts around the state. Baranco holds court every two months at soup kitchens, church halls and other non-traditional locations to aid homeless defendants in resolving outstanding citations for non-violent offenses and obtaining access to housing and other services.
Baranco also helped set up a certified court interpreter education program as a collaboration of the Alameda Superior Court and the Peralta Community College and works with Youth Uprising, a nonprofit organization that creates and sustains economic development of youth leadership through programs in arts and culture, health and wellness, and career and education for low-income youth and young adults.
He serves as vice-chair of the Judicial Councilís Access and Fairness Advisory Committee and is a member of the Judicial Councilís Task Force for Criminal Justice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues.
Baranco, 61, is an Oakland native who earned his undergraduate and law degrees from UC Davis. He began his legal career in 1974 as a San Francisco deputy district attorney, then went on to serve as managing attorney of the San Francisco Neighborhood Legal Foundation and as assistant to the Oakland city attorney before then-Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him to the Oakland-Piedmont-Emeryville Municipal Court in 1980.
Brownís successor, George Deukmejian, elevated him to the Superior Court in 1984.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company