Hon. Mary Ann O’Malley Judge, Superior Court of Contra Costa County
Term: Sept 2009–Sept 2014 (term has expired) Membership: Voting member, appointed by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye
Internal Committees: Litigation Management Committee, Chair; Executive and Planning Committee Liaison to: Superior Courts of Alameda, Santa Clara, and Sonoma Counties; AOC Fiscal Services Office, AOC Internal Audit Services
Judge O'Malley was appointed to the Superior Court of Contra Costa County in 1998. She was supervising judge of the court’s criminal division from 2005 to 2009 and was elected to a two-year term as presiding judge in 2008. She began her legal career as a law clerk for the district attorney’s offices in San Francisco and Contra Costa Counties (1983–1985). She later served as deputy district attorney for Contra Costa County. Judge O’Malley was initially appointed to the council on Jan 1, 2011, to complete the last few months of another council member’s term. Judge O’Malley previously served as a nonvoting advisory member, as a result of a one-year term as chair of the Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee. Judge O’Malley has served on the Trial Court Budget Working Group since 2009 and is a member of the Advisory Committee on Financial Accountability and Efficiency. She is a former member of the council's Executive and Planning Committee. In addition, she has served on the Advisory Committee on Criminal Jury Instructions, the Public Access Rule of Court Working Group, and the Judicial Recruitment and Retention Working Group. She is an instructor at the B. E. Witkin Judicial College, New Judge Orientation, and the Continuing Judicial Studies Program of the Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER) and serves on the CJER Criminal Law Education Committee and Criminal Law Curriculum Committee. In Nov 2012, she was appointed by the Chief Justice as a member of the Trial Court Funding Workgroup, a judicial and executive branch working group evaluating the progress of statewide funding for trial courts.
As part of the Judicial Council’s efforts to increase communication and transparency and promote accountability, council members serve as liaisons to the 58 trial courts and to the major service units of the Judicial Council staff. Members with updates present their reports at Judicial Council meetings, bringing fresh perspectives on the issues and challenges facing the judicial branch.
Alameda County Superior Court liaison report by Judge Mary Ann O'Malley
Aug 22, 2014
This large urban court is showing the strain and struggling with the public impacts of the judicial branch budget crisis, but is striving to innovate to increase efficiencies and improve service. With staffing reduced by 30 percent and several judicial vacancies, delays are expanding in case types ranging from domestic violence and civil harassment to small claims. The court has shortened clerk’s window hours and cannot afford court reporters in civil cases. To improve service to self-represented litigants, the court reorganized and centralized self-help services, mirroring a successful effort in Orange County. A new case management system for all case types other than traffic, implemented in the next 30 months, is expected to greatly increase efficiency. The new East County Hall of Justice in Dublin, slated to open in 2017, is a facilities bright spot, but meanwhile the court has had to spend reserves for urgently need repairs in other courthouses: heating, plumbing, and elevators.