2015 Distinguished Service Award Honorees Announced

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Contact: Blaine Corren, 415-865-7740

July 17, 2015

2015 Distinguished Service Award Honorees Announced

Highest honor presented by the state Judicial Council

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SAN FRANCISCO—The Judicial Council of California today announced four recipients of its 2015 Distinguished Service Award, the highest honors given by the state court system’s governing body. Now in its 22nd year, the award recognizes those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and made significant contributions to the administration of justice.

The recipients of this year’s Distinguished Service Award are (details follow):

  • Justice Maria P. Rivera, Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Four
  • Judge Manuel J. Covarrubias, Superior Court of Ventura County
  • Judge David Edwin Power, Superior Court of Solano County
  • David H. Yamasaki, Court Executive Officer, Superior Court of Santa Clara County

The 2015 recipient of the Aranda Access to Justice Award, presented jointly by the Judicial Council, the California Judges Association, and the State Bar of California, in association with the bar’s Commission on Access to Justice, was announced earlier this month by the State Bar:

Justice Maria P. Rivera and Judge Manuel J. Covarrubias co-chaired the council’s working group that developed the Strategic Plan for Language Access in the California Courts. Adopted by the Judicial Council in January2015, the plan provides for a consistent statewide approach to ensure language access throughout the courts and meaningful participation in the judicial process for California’s approximately 7 million residents and potential court users with limited-English proficiency. (Judge Covarrubias is also vice-chair of the task force charged with implementing the strategic plan; the plan has already become a model for other state court systems.)

Judge David Edwin Power has played a leading role in facilitating council oversight and management of the largest court facilities program in the nation. As chair of the council’s Trial Court Facility Modification Advisory Committee and as a member of its Court Facilities Advisory Committee and Facilities Policies Working Group, Judge Power has made an enormous contribution to the state’s portfolio of more than 500 court facilities for which the council assumed responsibility from the 58 counties in 2002.

David H. Yamasaki has been a statewide leader in addressing some of the most challenging issues facing the judicial branch. As a Judicial Council member from 2011-2014, and as chair of the council’s Court Executives Advisory Committee for two consecutive years, Mr. Yamasaki was at the forefront of, and continues to be an important contributor to, major policies and strategic initiatives implemented by the courts, including sustainable funding, equal access and procedural fairness, and technology to improve service and operational efficiency.

Judge Garry T. Ichikawa has demonstrated a long-term commitment to improving access to our courts. He was the driving force behind Solano County’s Dependency Drug Court, which has served as a model for other specialty courts, including the Solano’s new Integrated Domestic Violence Court, an effort Judge Ichikawa is now spearheading.

The council will present the awards at a special ceremony on August 20 in San Francisco.

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