Distinguished Service Awards

Six awards honor individuals who exemplify the strengths of leadership that have improved the administration of justice statewide. This year's recipients, announced at the June 27 council meeting, will receive their awards in a ceremony scheduled for Aug 2014.

The Aranda Access to Justice Award, presented in partnership with the State Bar, and the California Judges Association in association with the California Commission on Access to Justice, is awarded alongside the Distinguished Service Awards. The recipient for 2014 has not yet been announced. 


Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence:  Hon. Tricia A. Bigelow, Presiding Justice, California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight
Honors members of the judiciary for their extraordinary dedication to the highest principles of the administration of justice statewide.

William C. Vickrey Leadership in Judicial Administration Award: 
Mr. Curt Soderlund, Chief Administrative Officer
Honors individuals in judicial administration for significant statewide contributions to and leadership in their profession.

Bernard E. Witkin Amicus Curiae Award:
Mr. Ralph J. Shapiro, Attorney at Law, Shapiro Family Trust Foundation
Honors individuals other than members of the judiciary for their outstanding contributions to the courts of California.

Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award:
Bench-Bar Coalition, Open Courts Coalition,and State Bar of California
Honors individuals or entities from federal, state, and local government for significant contributions to advancing equal access to fair and consistent justice in California.

Richard D. Huffman Justice for Children & Families Award: Hon. Michael Nash, Judge, Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles
Honors individuals for significant contributions to advancing justice for children and families in California.

Excellence in Judicial Education Award: Hon Carol A. Corrigan, Associate Justice, California Supreme Court, and Hon. Mark B. Simons, Associate Justice, California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Five
Honors individuals or faculty teams for their exceptional contributions to teaching and judicial education in California.

The nomination period for the 2014 award is closed. Information about 2014 recipients will be posted here when announced.

Honorees are recognized for:

  • Contributions to leadership in statewide court administration, including the breadth and impact of their work and the longevity of these efforts
    • Leadership and commitment in partnering with the judicial branch to achieve positive changes
      in statewide court administration (for the Stanley Mosk Award only)
    • Leadership and commitment in advancing justice for children and families in California
      (Justice for Children & Families Award only)
  • Advancement of Judicial Council goals: access, fairness, and diversity; independence and accountability; modernization of management and administration; quality of justice and service to the public; education for branchwide professional excellence; and branchwide infrastructure for service excellence
  • Personal dedication and/or a willingness to take risks to achieve goals
  • Overcoming challenges or limitations

Current Judicial Council members are not eligible to receive Distinguished Service Awards, except in the case of the Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award and the Justice for Children & Families Award. A maximum of two awards per category may be given each year.

News Release: 2013 Distinguished Service Awards

Presiding Judge Laurie Earl, Superior Court of Sacramento County (Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence)— selected for her visionary and collaborative leadership and dedication in the groundbreaking effort over the past year to create greater equity in how funds are allocated among the 58 trial courts.
Ms. Kim Turner, Chief Executive Officer, Superior Court of Marin County (William C. Vickrey Leadership in Judicial Administration Award)— selected for her many activities and contributions, both statewide and in the court she serves, that have contributed to statewide advances in the administration and service delivery of the superior courts.
Judge David Rothman (Ret.), Superior Court of Los Angeles County (Bernard E. Witkin Amicus Curiae Award)— honored for his unparalleled leadership in judicial education, particularly his singular contributions to judicial ethics.
Secretary Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense and co-founder of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy (Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award) — honored for his leadership and lifelong commitment to public service, and for sharing his experience and guidance with California court leaders working to modernize the judicial branch’s technology infrastructure.
Judge Becky Dugan, Superior Court of Riverside County (Richard D. Huffman Justice for Children & Families Award) — selected for her decades of leadership and contributions advancing justice for children, families, and those with mental health issues.

Justice Laurence D. Kay (Ret), Court of Appeal, First Appellate District (Richard D. Huffman Justice for Children & Families Award) — honored for his leadership and contributions that have benefited California’s diverse families and children.

News Release: 2012 Distinguished Service Awards

These awards were presented on Dec 13, 2012, in San Francisco. See photo gallery 

Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence
Justice Richard D. Huffman, Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District (San Diego), was honored for his service to the Judicial Council from 1997 to 2011 and ongoing commitment to issues facing the judicial branch.

Judge Wendy S. Lindley, Superior Court of Orange County, was honored for pioneering innovative problem-solving courts and providing meaningful access to justice to veterans, the homeless, the addicted, and the mentally ill.

William C. Vickrey Leadership in Judicial Administration Award
 —Jody Patel, AOC Chief of State, as Interim Administrative Director of the Courts, was selected for initiating organizational and operational changes to improve the Administrative Office of the Courts’ (AOC) effectiveness, efficiency, transparency, and accountability in serving the Judicial Council, the courts, and the public.

Bernard E. Witkin Amicus Curiae Award
 —Mary Lavery Flynn, Director, Office of Legal Services, State Bar of California, was selected for her over 32 years of service in identifying issues and solutions to the problems facing low- income persons accessing the justice system in California.

Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award
 —Captain Matthew Patrick Manoukian, posthumously, of the United States Marines, on behalf of all members of the armed services who are protecting access to justice through their sacrifice and service to our country. 

Richard D. Huffman Justice for Children & Families Award
 —Judge Stephen V. Manley, Superior Court of Santa Clara County, was honored for his leadership role in developing collaborative justice court programs for children and families and for bringing the issues of children and families into the collaborative justice courts addressing adult criminal cases to provide them with a complete solution to their family issues.

Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence (Formerly Jurist of the Year)

  • 2012 Hon. Richard D. Huffman; Hon. Wendy S. Lindley
  • 2011 Hon. Brad R. Hill
  • 2010 Hon. Arthur G. Scotland
  • 2009 Hon. Ming W. Chin
  • 2008 Hon. J. Richard Couzens and Hon. David S. Wesley
  • 2007 Hon. Norman L. Epstein
  • 2006 Hon. Richard D. Aldrich
  • 2004-2005 Hon. Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian and Hon. Frederick Paul Horn
  • 2003 Hon. James D. Ward, Hon. Carol A. Corrigan, and Hon. Leonard P. Edwards
  • 2002 Hon. James Allen Bascue and Hon. Lois Haight
  • 2001 Hon. Daniel J. Kremer
  • 2000 Hon. Veronica McBeth and Hon. Judith D. McConnell
  • 1999 Hon. Kathleen E. O'Leary and Hon. James A. Ardaiz
  • 1998 Hon. John A. Flaherty
  • 1997 Hon. Steven E. Jahr
  • 1996 Hon. Robert M. Mallano
  • 1995 Hon. Roger K. Warren
  • 1994 Hon. Roy L. Wonder
  • 1993 Hon. Patrick J. Morris and Hon. H. Walter Croskey

William C. Vickrey Leadership in Judicial Administration Award (Formerly Judicial Administration Award)

  • 2012 Jody Patel
  • 2011 Michael Planet
  • 2010 Curtis L. Child
  • 2009 Stephen Nash
  • 2008 Sharol Strickland
  • 2007 Ken Torre
  • 2006 Tressa Sloan Kentner and Patricia M. Yerian
  • 2004-2005 Jody Patel and Karen M. Thorson
  • 2003 Jeanne Millsaps and Christine M. Hansen
  • 2002 Tamara Lynn Beard and Ray LeBov
  • 2001 Michael M. Roddy
  • 2000 Stephen V. Love and Christine Patton
  • 1999 Frederick "Fritz" Ohlrich and Kiri S. Torre
  • 1998 Susan Null and William C. Vickrey
  • 1997 Alan Slater
  • 1996 Ronald G. Overholt
  • 1995 Sheila Calabro
  • 1994 Arthur Sims and Diane Nunn
  • 1993 Edward M. Kritzman

Bernard E. Witkin Amicus Curiae Award

  • 2012 Mary Lavery Flynn
  • 2011 Joseph W. Cotchett
  • 2010 Senator Darrell S. Steinberg
  • 2009 James P. Fox and Gary Windom
  • 2008 Kenneth W. Babcock
  • 2007 Hon. Sandra Day O'Connor
  • 2006 John M. Hancock
  • 2004-2005 Alba Witkin
  • 2003 James Herman and Hon. George Deukmejian
  • 2002 Jay Folberg
  • 2001 William A. Fenwick
  • 2000 Andrew Guilford
  • 1999 Hon. Elwood Lui (Ret.)
  • 1998 J. Clark Kelso
  • 1997 Hon. Pete Wilson
  • 1996 Hon. Phillip Isenberg
  • 1995 Larry L. Sipes
  • 1994 Margaret Morrow and Alan Post
  • 1993 Richard Chernick

Stanley Mosk Defender of Justice Award

  • 2012 Captain Matthew Manoukian (posthumously)
  • 2011 State Senator Noreen Evans
  • 2010 State Senator Mike Feuer
  • 2007 Justice Paul Boland (posthumously)
  • 2006 Senator Joe Dunn

Richard D. Huffman Justice for Children & Families Award

  • 2012 Hon. Stephen V. Manley
  • 2011 Hon. Richard D. Huffman; William C. Vickrey
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