(CN) — The California Judges Association elected Judge Thomas A. Delaney of Orange County as its new president on Wednesday.
The judicial group’s executive board chose Delaney to serve a one-year term that will start on Sept. 26, succeeding retired Judge Tam Nomoto Schumann of Orange County.
Delaney is currently the association’s vice president and chair of the judicial outreach committee. He is also secretary of the California Latino Judges Association.
His election comes at a turbulent time for California’s trial courts, which this year suffered $150 million in budget cuts — a staggering amount not seen since the Great Recession.
Delaney regularly hears unlimited civil cases at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, but has returned to the criminal bench to help the court address its backlog of cases brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. He was previously a criminal court judge who presided over criminal and misdemeanor trials.
He recently oversaw litigation stemming from Orange County’s attempt to house the homeless at the Laguna Hills Inn as part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s “Project Roomkey,” an initiative to secure hotel rooms for the homeless to curb the spread of Covid-19. The city of Laguna Hills fought the county’s efforts, claiming in a lawsuit that the move would create a public nuisance. In April, Delaney ruled in favor of the county, finding it had the authority to put Newsom’s temporary homeless housing plan into action during a state of emergency.
Delaney was appointed to the bench in 2014 by then-Governor Jerry Brown. He received his undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University and his juris doctorate from Loyola Law School. Delaney got his start in 1992 as an associate with Bodkin, McCarthy, Sargent & Smith, then moved to Sedgwick, Desert, Moran and Arnold three years later. He became a partner at Sedgwick LLP in 2002.