(From Press Release) – The Judges of the Yolo Superior Court have elected Judge Janet Gaard and Judge Paul Richardson to serve as Presiding and Assistant Presiding Judges for calendar years 2017-2018.
As Presiding Judge, Judge Gaard will be responsible for leading the court, and, with the assistance of the Court Executive Officer, allocating resources to promote access to justice, provide a forum for the fair and expeditious resolution of disputes, maximize the use of judicial and other resources, increase efficiency in court operations, and enhance service to the public. In the absence of the Presiding Judge, the Assistant Presiding Judge assumes these responsibilities.
Judge Gaard commented, “Judge Richardson and I are honored by the trust our colleagues have placed in us. We have a talented bench of judicial officers and staff who strive every day to serve the public to the best of our abilities even in these times of limited resources. We are committed to ensuring access to the courts for all, and working with the bar, the public, public agencies, and everyone who comes to court to improve our services. We welcome public input as we continue our work towards these goals.”
Judge Gaard was appointed to the court in 2008. She currently presides over family law calendar, drug court, and mental health court. Previously, she presided over felony, misdemeanor, civil, and probate calendars. Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Gaard served in the Office of the California Attorney General as a Deputy Attorney General in the Criminal Law Division, Director of Legislative Affairs for the California Department of Justice, and, at the time of her judicial appointment by Governor Schwarzenegger, as the Chief Assistant Attorney of the Division of Public Rights under then-Attorney General Jerry Brown. Judge Gaard is often called upon to serve the judicial branch in a statewide capacity. She serves on the Governing Committee of the Judicial Council’s Center of Judicial Education, the Steering Committee for the state’s Judicial College (which all new judges must attend), the Judicial Council’s Language Access Plan Implementation Task Force, and the Criminal Law Advisory Committee to the Judicial Council. She earned her J.D. from the University of California, Davis in 1983.
Judge Richardson presides over a felony/misdemeanor calendar. Before his appointment to the bench by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2008, Richardson served as a Yolo Superior Court Commissioner. Prior to his court service, Richardson was appointed as General Counsel to the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board by Governor Pete Wilson. He has previously served as a Deputy District Attorney in Yolo County, as the District Attorney for Placer County and, from 1989 to 1990, as deputy district attorney for the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. Prior to that, he was an associate with the law firm Bolling, Walter & Gawthrop and special assistant district attorney and assistant district attorney for the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts. Judge Richardson earned a J.D. degree from McGeorge School of Law and a B.A. from Stanford University