Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, October 31, 2011


Page 3


Court of Appeal Justices Hill and Robie Honored by Judicial Council


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Court of Appeal Justices Brad R. Hill and Ronald B. Robie have been selected as  recipients of the Judicial Councilís Distinguished Service Awards, a spokesperson for the organization announced Friday.

The highest honors given by the council since they were established 18 years ago, the awards are presented to those who demonstrate extraordinary leadership and make significant contributions to the administration of justice in California, the spokesperson said.

Hill, who serves as administrative presiding judge of the Fifth District, and Robie, a member of the Third District, are slated to receive the Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence.

The award was previously called the Jurist of the Year Award but was re-named for the chief justice who retired in January.

Hill has served on and chaired a variety of Judicial Council committees during his 20 year tenure as a bench officer, and currently heads the Task Force for Criminal Justice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues. He is a also a current member of the Working Group on Court Security and Bench-Bar Coalition.

He has served two full terms on the Judicial Councilófrom 2000 to 2003 and from 2007 to 2010óand currently chairs the Court Facilities Working Group, which oversees the judicial branch court facilities program, as well as the Commission for Impartial Courts Implementation Committee, which is charged with reviewing proposals to improve judicial selection and recruitment. 

Committee Chair

As a member of the Court Profiles Committee and as its chair in 2009, Hill led the development of a statewide judicial needs assessment and was instrumental in gaining legislative recognition of the need for more judges in state courts.

Hill was also part of the committee that helped pioneer the use of satellite TV broadcasts of educational programs throughout the state as a cost-savings measure.

His previous committee service has included serving as vice-chair of the Judicial Councilís Policy Committee, and as a member of the Ralph N. Kleps Award Committee, Court-County Working Group, and Trial Court Executive Management Working Group.

The jurist began his career on the bench with an appointment to the Fresno Municipal Court in 1991 and he was elevated to the superior court seven years later. Hill served as assistant presiding judge for three years and in 2003 was elected presiding judge.

In 2006, he  joined the Court of Appeal and in 2010, was named presiding justice. 

Robie, for the past nine years, has chaired the Kleps Award Committee, which selects award recipients for innovative projects that improve court administration of courts.

In addition, he chairs the Governing Committee of the California Center for Judicial Education and Research and has taught at many judicial institutes and programs.

He currently is a member of the board of directors of the National Center for State Courts and  is the 2010-2011 chair of the California Commission on Access to Justice and the California Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Advisory Opinions.

Former Trial Judge

Robie previously served as a member of the Commission for Impartial Courts and is chair of its Task Force on Judicial Selection and Retention, which made numerous recommendations to the Judicial Council to improve judicial selection and retention. 

He also is a former member of the Judicial Council and the Federal-State Judicial Council.

The jurist joined the Court of Appeal in 2002 after serving on the Sacramento Municipal Court and Sacramento Superior Court since 1983. Robie served as presiding judge of the superior court in 1994-1995.

In other news, Ventura Superior Court Judge Executive Officer Michael D. Planet has been selected by the council to receive its William C. Vickrey Leadership in Judicial Administration Award; Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, to receive the Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award, and Burlingame attorney Joseph W. Cotchett of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy to receive the Bernard E. Witkin Amicus Curiae Award.

Named for the long-time administrative director of the courts who retired in September,  the Vickrey award honors individuals in judicial administration for significant contributions to and leadership in their profession, a council spokesperson said.

Mosk Award

The Mosk award honors the longest-service justice in the history of the California Supreme Court, whose long career in public life included service as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge and as attorney general of the state, and who was a nationally and internationally recognized civil liberties advocate.

Its recipient, Evans, served six years in the Assembly prior to her election to the Senate last year. She currently serves as Judiciary Committee chair and as one of the two legislative members of the Judicial Council.

She is a 1981 graduate of McGeorge School of Law.

The Witkin award is named for the famed legal scholar who died in 1995 and honors individuals other than members of the judiciary for their outstanding contributions to the courts of California, according to a Judicial Council press release. Among the activities for which Cotchett was honored, the  release said, was his participation in litigation that blocked the proposed sale of state court buildings to private investors.


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