The judicial assignments in Yolo Superior Court were released recently with some revisions over even a few weeks ago, and one thing became quite notable – the number of criminal courtrooms has been shrunk from six in the current term, down to four.
All of the judges on the criminal bench are men – the youngest is 57-year-old Judge Tim Fall. The others are veteran judges – David Rosenberg, Paul Richardson and David Reed.
We noted last year when outgoing Governor Jerry Brown appointed Peter Williams and Tom Dyer to replace two outgoing women – Kathleen White and Janet Gaard – that Governor Brown had created a disproportionate bench in Yolo County with eight male judges and just two women.
Moreover, in a county that is nearly half people of color, there is just one person of color on the bench, Sonia Cortés.
That problem has now been magnified by Judge Sam McAdam, the presiding judge, who removed both Judge Janene Beronio and Judge Cortés from Criminal Court where they have presided this year. He put Judge Cortés in Family Court and Judge Beronio in Juvenile.
There is one vacancy, and the expectation according to those in the know is that Governor Newsom is expected to fill that vacancy, possibly this month.
But at least according to the judicial assignment page, a new judge would have jurisdiction over a second civil courtroom rather than a fifth criminal courtroom, leaving the criminal courts in Yolo County under the direction of an all-male bench.
The problem is countywide. All eight elected county positions are currently held by men. That includes all five of the county board of supervisors. A decade ago, both positions in Davis were held by women, but Mariko Yamada was replaced in 2008 by Jim Provenza and Don Saylor in 2010 replaced Helen Thomson. Since 2010, then there has not been a woman on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors.
The Board has reduced the number of countywide elected positions over the years. Right now there are just three elected positions – District Attorney, Sheriff, and County Clerk.
When Freddy Oakley retired, Jesse Salinas was appointed to take her place. The Assessor and Clerk were merged into a single office. For years, the Public Guardian, then Cass Sylvia, was an elected position. But in 2016, the Board moved ahead with plans to eliminate the elected office of Public Guardian/Public Administrator, and then split the duties of that office between the Health and Human Services Agency and the Sheriff’s Department.
In addition to the elected positions being held by men, the top administrative positions – County Administrator, Patrick Blacklock, and County Counsel, Phil Pogledich, are also male.
One position headed by a woman in the county is Public Defender – Tracie Olson – and is also an appointed position.
—David M. Greenwald reporting