As the change of season from summer to fall begins, so too will things change at the Richard E. Arnason Justice Center next year. We are losing a judge in our Criminal Division and gaining a judge in our Family Law Division. With our Pittsburg criminal filings substantially increasing, this will be another challenge to do more with less. With our filings up and one less criminal judge, unfortunately, we will no longer be able to volunteer to hear the private counsel pre-trials from Martinez. Those matters will be transferred back to the Martinez Court in January. Sadly, we will lose Judge Nancy Davis Stark, who is transferring to Martinez in January to preside over felony jury trials. Judge Stark will be missed as she managed her heavy calendars extremely well. We are blessed to keep Judge Brian Haynes in Pittsburg, although he will be switching hats and handling family law matters instead of criminal matters. As he was a past Supervising Judge of Pittsburg, I value and appreciate his advice and his barbecue skills. Pittsburg Court is famous for its barbecues of which Judge Haynes proudly carries on the tradition.
Starting in January, the following judges will be assigned to Pittsburg Court: Hon. Mary Ann O’Malley as Supervising Judge, along with the Hon. Steve Treat, Hon. Judy Johnson, and the Hon. Lewis Davis, who we are looking forward to include as a new addition to our line-up. The Hon. Anita Santos and Hon. Brian Haynes will be handling all family law matters. And of course Commissioner Lowell Richards will be handling the lion’s share of our work in Pittsburg, that being: traffic, small claims and unlawful detainers. He will be getting a little help from our newly-hired Commissioner Terrye Davis. Commissioner Davis has a lot of experience coming from a similar position in Solano County. She is delightful and we look forward to her joining our Pittsburg team.
Thankfully we have our same crew to manage our court. Lisa Swafford, our Court Administrator and Suzi Dailey, our Court Manager keep us all organized every single day. Sergeant Garibay continues to keep us and the public safe with an outstanding crew of bailiffs and rangers. David LeDee, our Court Probation Officer, does an outstanding job of supervising all of our probationers as well as those eligible for diversion and other court programs. We don’t know how he does it, but we are so thankful. Our clerical staff in the courtrooms and in the clerk’s office work at light speed to process all the paperwork day in and day out. They are efficient, professional and an absolute pleasure to work with.
During Fiscal Year 2015-2016, Pittsburg Court received 6,380 new filings in the misdemeanor/ felony criminal division. This is an increase of nearly 1,900 filings from last fiscal year. In addition, our criminal judges presided over 1,600 civil harassment and domestic violence restraining order hearings as well as 61 misdemeanor jury trials.
Commissioner Lowell Richards handled over 22,000 traffic cases in addition to 2,341 small claims and unlawful detainer matters.
As you can see, the Richard E. Arnason Justice Center is very busy but a welcoming place to work. Very much like its namesake. See you in Court.
Filed Under: Spotlight