Chief Appoints Three New Council Members
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The makeup of California's Judicial Council will look slightly different this fall with the selection of three new voting members, one of whom has held council membership in the past two years.
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye appointed to the council Judge David Rubin of San Diego, Judge Dean Stout of Inyo County and Charlene Ynson, clerk of the Fifth District Court of Appeal. The new members will serve three-year terms starting on September 15.
Stout has been an Inyo County Superior Court judge since 1997, where he was also the presiding judge. He distinguished himself as "Juvenile Court Judge of the Year" in 2006, an honor given by the Juvenile Court Judges Association, and has also served on the Judicial Council Advisory Committee on Family and Juvenile Law.
In August 2012 Stout sent the council a letter in his capacity as presiding judge urging the chief and council members not to "throw out the baby with the bath water" with respect to downsizing the bureaucratic Administrative Office of the Courts.
His letter was in response to a heralded report by the Strategic Evaluation Committee, a group of judges whose evaluation of the agency led to recommendations for drastic reform. Stout said of the report, "I am encouraged by the notion that this report brings greater transparency to the Judicial Council to help them serve and assist the trial courts rather than dictate what will be done."
Stout also said he supports the move toward a democratically elected council, rather than one where its members are chosen by the chief justice.
Judge David Rubin joined the San Diego court in 2006. He was elected president of the California Judges Association for 2011-12 and also sat on the Judicial Council that year as a non-voting CJA representative.
During his one-year stint on the council, Rubin was a strong voice for increased funding of the trial courts and the preservation of court reserves. He also stood with the CJA in supporting the termination of the Court Case Management System, a costly statewide court computer project that ended last year after a council vote.
The chief also reappointed two current members to the council for three-year terms. Judge Kenneth So of San Diego joined the council as a voting member in 2009 and is currently a non-voting member. He was reappointed to a non-voting position.
Judge James Herman of Santa Barbara was appointed to a voting position by former Chief Justice Ronald George in 2010, but will become an advisory member in September.
In a statement, Cantil-Sakauye said of the appointments, "We're at a critical juncture in the judicial branch. We are struggling to reverse huge budget cuts to the branch at the same time we are building on the initiatives we've introduced in the last three years. We still have a lot of work to do, and I'm thankful-and proud- that these judges and court administrators are willing to take on the considerable effort involved in providing access to justice."