Friday, July 12, 2002
O’Brien Elected President of California Judges Association
By NAZANIN AGANGE, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory C. O’Brien, elected the California Judges Association’s newest president, yesterday predicted a busy year for the group.
The 24-member executive board of the CJA elected O’Brien by secret ballot at its June 29 board meeting. He will be installed as president at the group’s annual meeting on October 13 at the Newport Beach Hyatt hotel. He will serve a one-year term.
O’Brien called it “an honor and a privilege to serve the members of CJA and to be working on behalf of the judiciary.”
CJA, a professional group for active and retired state judges and commissioners, functions as a lobbying agent, monitors legislation and offers personal assistance for judges with support groups and insurance programs.
“We’re always interested on quality of life issues for judges,” O’Brien said. “We’re active on a number of fronts and much of the work focuses on following legislation.”
O’Brien said the group is monitoring a bill aimed at ensuring judicial privacy and safety by preventing judges’ and other officers of the court’s personal information, like home addresses, from being easily obtained.
CJA is also working on establishing a better relationship with members of the legislature through its Legislative Outreach Committee. Because there is such a quick turnaround of people in the legislature, “it’s important to get to know [lawmakers] and establish relationships with them quickly,” O’Brien said.
This year, O’Brien said CJA will work closely with the Administrative Office of the Courts to give judges a chance to have earlier input on changing California Rules of Court.
“The organization has a historic commitment to promoting access to courts and fairness,” O’Brien said. Through its annual meeting and mid-year conference CJA also seeks to promote judicial collegiality and educate its members on current issues, he said.
CJA has 2600 members statewide. Besides focusing on legislation that affects the courts and judges, the group addresses specific aspects of the profession, like judicial ethics, public complaints about the judiciary and judicial quality of life issues, with several standing committees.
O’Brien joined CJA in 1985, and became a member of the board in 2000. CJA board members serve three-year terms and, in their last year, are eligible to run for executive office.
O’Brien has served on the Public Information & Education Committee, the Discipline Committee and chaired the committee that puts out a number of publications for the group, including their newsletter, The California Bench. He is currently the chair of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee.
A 1968 graduate of the USC School of Journalism and 1972 Whittier Law School alumnus, O’Brien began his law career as a deputy city attorney for Los Angeles, where he worked on criminal and land use cases until 1978.
He was an attorney for Southern California Edison until he was appointed to the Citrus Municipal Court in 1985. In 1987, he was promoted to the Los Angeles Superior Court. O’Brien took an unpaid leave of absence in 1990 to run for County Board of Supervisors. Currently, he hears civil cases in the Central District Court.
Also elected at the June 29 meeting were San Diego Superior Court Judge Luis R. Vargas, as vice president, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Charlotte Walter Woolard, also as vice president, and Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Emilie H. Elias, as secretary-treasurer.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company