Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, July 30, 2009


Page 3


Judicial Council Names Ming Chin ‘Jurist of the Year’


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Judicial Council of California yesterday announced that it will be presenting its highest honor to California Supreme Court Justice Ming W. Chin.

Chin was selected as the 2009 Jurist of the Year for his contributions to judicial administration, including diversity and fairness, science and the law, judicial independence and impartiality, and advances in technology, the council said.

The justice has been a member of the high court for 13 years after being tapped by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1996 to succeed retired Justice Armand Arabian. Wilson had appointed him two years prior as the presiding justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Div. Three.

He began his judicial career with an appointment to the Alameda Superior Court bench in 1988 by then-Gov. George Deukmejian, who elevated him to the appellate court two years later.

Prior to that, Chin was a partner at the Oakland law firm of Aiken, Kramer & Cummings, where he specialized in business and commercial litigation. He joined the firm as an associate after having served three years as a deputy district attorney for Alameda County.

Chin obtained his undergraduate degree in political science and his law degree from the University of San Francisco, and was admitted to the State Bar in 1970.

After completing his education, Chin served two years as a captain in the United States Army, including a year in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star.

The Judicial Council commended his “demonstrated leadership and commitment in addressing major challenges facing the legal system today,” as a “longtime advocate of increasing diversity on the bench and addressing fairness issues in the courts,” noting his service on the Judicial Council’s Advisory Committee on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts from 1991 to 1997 and his participation in the panel’s statewide public hearings.

In 2007, Chief Justice Ronald M.  George appointed Chin as chair of California’s Commission for Impartial Courts, an 88-member statewide group that is slated to present its final report providing recommendations to improve judicial campaign finance, candidate campaign conduct, selection and retention, and public information and education to the Judicial Council in October 2009.

Chin also chaired the Judicial Council’s Science and the Law Steering Committee from 2005 to 2007 and for the past seven years has chaired the Judicial Council’s Court Technology Advisory Committee, assisting in the development of automated systems throughout the courts.

In other news, the council also announced that it will be presenting San Mateo District Attorney James P. Fox and Riverside Chief Public Defender Gary Windom with the Bernard E. Witkin Amicus Curiae Award, which honors individuals other than members of the judiciary for their outstanding contributions to the courts of California.

Stephen Nash, director of the Finance Division of the Administrative Office of the Courts, was also chosen to receive the Judicial Administration Award in recognition of his “fiscal leadership of state courts during one of the most challenging economic times in recent years,” the council said.

The awards will be presented later this year by the Chief Justice and Administrative Director of the Courts William C. Vickrey.


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