Award for Exemplary Service and Leadership

Presented by the Chief Justice of California, these awards honor an individual, entity, or program deserving of special recognition by the highest judicial officer of the state for outstanding service to the judicial branch. These awards are presented at the discretion of the Chief Justice.

2016 Recipient: Justice Judith McConnell

Justice Judith McConnellChief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye has selected Administrative Presiding Justice Judith D. McConnell, Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District for the Chief Justice's Award for Exemplary Service and Leadership for her outstanding work in civic learning. 


Past Recipients

JusticeCorps involves a collaborative effort between participating California superior courts, college campuses, and local community agencies and is sponsored by the Judicial Council of California. As an AmeriCorps national service program, it recruits and trains more than 250 college students and recent graduates each year to support legal self-help centers in local courts. JusticeCorps is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year

California Law Academies
On May 1, Law Day, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye presented the Chief Justice's Award for Exemplary Service and Leadership to the state's Law Academies. Ruthe Ashley, Chair of the California Law Academy Strategic Task Force, accepted the award and spoke about the academy movement in California, including the work of teachers and mentors from the legal community.


2012 Open Courts Coalition
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye presented her first Exemplary Award as leader of the judicial branch on May 8, 2012, to the Open Courts Coalition. The Open Courts Coalition is a campaign of attorneys, labor and business leaders, calling on the Legislature to keep the courthouse doors open by restoring the $350 million that has been cut from the courts in recent years. Coalition cochairs, attorneys Paul Kiesel and Niall McCarthy, pictured right, accepted the award during a Law Day celebration in Sacramento. See video.

2008 Judge Steven Manley
Superior Court of Santa Clara County was presented the award by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, for his outstanding contributions developing and advancing drug and mental health courts. Judge Manley founded the Santa Clara County Drug Court in 1996 and the Mental Health Court in 1997, one of the largest mental health treatment courts in the United States. See news release for more details.