Monday, February 11, 2013
Fourth District Court of Appeal Clerk Stephen M. Kelly Dies at 64
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Stephen M. Kelly, the longtime clerk/administrator of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, has died at the age of 64.
His brother, Bay Area attorney Kevin Kelly, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Kelly took ill on Monday and was found dead at his home on Wednesday by a court employee who went to check on him. The cause of death is not yet known, the newspaper said.
The Union-Tribune described Kelly as “a genial and avuncular presence at the Court of Appeal in San Diego for 35 years.”
Kelly was the son of longtime Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Joseph Kelly.
Steve Kelly graduated from UCLA in 1970 with a degree in psychology and business. He was an officer in the Navy, stationed in Japan, during the Vietnam conflict and also served as assistant director of a drug rehabilitation center for sailors in San Diego before joining the San Diego Superior Court in 1973.
He worked in the accounting office there and later as a deputy clerk. He joined the Court of Appeal as a deputy clerk in 1978 and was promoted to chief deputy clerk in 1982 and to clerk/administrator in 1987.
Administrative Presiding Justice Judith McConnell commented in a statement:
“The Fourth District Court of Appeal is devastated by the sudden passing of our long-time Clerk Administrator Stephen Kelly. Steve embodied the highest standards of public service and access to justice and always motivated all of us to remember our mission was service to the community, no matter how challenging the case or the person—from the highest paid attorney to a homeless person on the street, all were treated by Steve with respect and dignity. He will be sorely missed.”
Kelly was recognized with a Ralph N. Kleps Award for Improvement in the Administration of the Courts for his court’s work on a manual for Step by Step Civil Appellate Practices and Procedures for the Self-Represented. He also oversaw numerous court programs including a Volunteer Attorney Mediator Civil Settlement Program, Court Speakers Program, and an Extern Program.
In 2010, he was recognized with the San Diego County Bar Association’s Service to the Legal Profession Award, presented to an individual demonstrating outstanding service to the administration of justice and/or the needs of the profession.
He also served as an advisory member of the Judicial Council and on several of the council’s advisory committees. He was a member and past president of the California Appellate Court Clerks Association and a member of the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks.
He is survived by his brother, two nieces and a cousin. The Union-Tribune said no services had been set as yet.
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