SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Cathy Catterson, the Ninth Circuit's top administrator for the last nine years and a guiding force behind streaming of court proceedings on the internet, said she will retire at the end of February.
"It has been an honor and privilege to work with so many incredibly talented and hard-working judges, particularly all of my chiefs. And I was fortunate to have had an equally amazing and dedicated staff. It is going to be tough to leave the building. But it's the right decision and as right a time as it can be," Catterson said in a statement on Monday.
Catterson joined the court in 1975 as a senior case expediter, and became clerk of the court in 1985. In 2007, she moved to the then-newly created position of circuit and court of appeals executive, where she currently oversees the roughly 300 employees who staff the Ninth Circuit's courthouses in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland.
Born in Queens, New York, Catterson received her undergraduate degree from Catholic University of America in 1974, and her law degree from George Mason University Law School in 1978. She clerked for U.S. District Judge Edward J. Devitt of Minnesota, who inspired her to pursue a career in the Ninth Circuit.
As circuit executive, Catterson ushered in new technology through a pilot program that introduced cameras to the courtroom in 1991. The program eventually expanded to live internet video streaming of all the Ninth Circuit's cases.
She also ensured that the court never missed a session after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, when the court was forced to move from its damaged courthouse on Seventh and Mission in San Francisco into temporary quarters. The building was later renovated and reopened in 1997.
"Cathy has been the center of gravity for our court for almost four decades, and there is not a judge on this court she has not lifted up in a time of need," Chief Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas said in a statement. "Her extraordinary management skills and innovation have kept us not only afloat, but excelling, even in times of stress. She has our most profound thanks and appreciation for a lifetime of service and friendship to us all."
Catterson's last day on the job will be Feb. 28.
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