William C. Vickrey, who served as Administrative Director of the Judicial Council of California for nearly two decades, died Tuesday in Utah after an extended illness. He was 75.
In his role, Vickrey served three California Chief Justices from 1992 until 2011—Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas, Chief Justice Ronald M. George, and Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.
In a statement, Acting Administrative Director Millicent Tidwell said: “Bill Vickrey is synonymous with the administration of justice in California and nationally. Court users throughout the state continue to benefit from the progressive agenda he helped the Judicial Council advance to improve our court system.”
Vickrey was named Administrative Director in 1992 after seven years as the state court administrator for Utah.
During his tenure, Vickrey collaborated with chief justices, the Judicial Council, and the courts on historic reforms for California’s judicial branch, most notably: ending the bifurcated county-state funding system for trial courts in favor of single-source state funding for greater equity in fiscal resources and available court services; unifying the municipal and superior courts into a single trial court level to improve court efficiency and expand court programs and services; and shifting responsibility for the management of more than 500 court facilities from the counties to the state to promote equal access to safe and secure courthouses for the public.
At his retirement in 2011, former Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye praised Vickrey for “his tireless dedication, innovation, and perseverance in helping to reform California’s courts and making the judiciary a true third branch of government in this state.”
Said Chief Justice George: “Present and future generations of Californians will benefit from his many innovative contributions to the administration of justice on both a state and national level.”
Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas said Vickrey “devoted himself to the best interests of the judiciary and was in all ways exceptional.”
Vickrey received numerous awards for his public service contributions, including the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) Warren E. Burger Award in 1995, induction into the NCSC’s Warren E. Burger Society in 2009, and the Judicial Council of California’s Distinguished Service Award in 1999.