Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Page 3


Third District C.A. Justice Sims Sets Nov. 30 Retirement Date


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Third District Court of Appeal Justice Richard Sims III has confirmed that he will retire Nov. 30, a court spokesperson said yesterday, leading to a potential turnover of almost half of the district’s justices since 2009.

Sims, a judge for nearly 30 years and a member of the Third District since 1982, said last February that he would step down sometime between Oct. 31 and the end of next January.

His retirement will give the 11-member court its fourth vacancy in two years, a number that could rise to five if voters next month approve Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nomination of current Third District Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to succeed retiring Chief Justice Ronald M. George on the California Supreme Court in January.

Justices Fred K. Morrison and Rodney Davis stepped down from the Third District in early 2009, and Presiding Justice Arthur G. Scotland retired last Thursday. Former Sacramento Superior Court Judge Louis Mauro succeeded Morrison in August, but no replacements for Davis or Scotland have been named.

Sims, 66, previously told the MetNews that he will not sit on assignment and said he planned to “take a break” from the law for some time. He indicated that he expected to spend time immediately after his retirement traveling with his wife, but he did not rule out private judging in the future.

An Oakland native, Sims joined the State Bar in 1969 after graduating from Amherst College and Harvard Law School, where he was class president. His father, Richard Sims Jr., was Marin County’s district attorney in the 1940s, and later served on trial and appellate courts before retiring from the First District Court of Appeal in 1978.

Richard Sims III began his legal career with Volunteers in Service to America, and became assistant executive director of the San Francisco Committee on Crime before serving as general counsel to then-San Francisco Sheriff Richard Hongisto in 1972 and 1973.

He later joined Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges, where he eventually became a partner, and taught at the University of San Francisco School of Law as an adjunct professor before then-Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him to the Placer Superior Court in 1980. Brown nominated Sims to the Court of Appeal in 1982 just as the governor was concluding his second term.

The task of choosing Sims’ successor could conceivably fall to Brown if Schwarzenegger does not name anyone to the post before leaving office in January, and if Brown, a Democrat, prevails over his Republican opponent, former e-Bay CEO Meg Whitman, in the November election to succeed Schwarzenegger.


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