SAN FRANCISCO—The California Supreme Court today appointed Justice William S. Dato, of the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One (San Diego), as a member of the Commission on Judicial Performance.
Justice Dato’s nearly three-year term begins April 1. Justice Dato succeeds Presiding Justice Ignazio R. Ruvolo, of the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division 4 (San Francisco), who is retiring from the bench.
Justice Dato was confirmed as an appellate justice in February 2017. He previously was a San Diego Superior Court judge for 13 years, serving as supervising judge of the North County branch, presiding judge of the court’s appellate division, and in a variety of substantive assignments.
Before his appointment to the bench, Justice Dato was a certified appellate law specialist in private practice and worked as an appellate court staff attorney with Justice Howard B. Wiener of the California Court of Appeal, Justice Mathew O. Tobriner of the California Supreme Court, and Chief Justice Rose E. Bird of the California Supreme Court. He has also been an adjunct professor at both the University of San Diego School of Law and California Western School of Law, teaching appellate practice and products liability.
A native San Diegan, Justice Dato received his law degree from University of California, Los Angeles in 1980 and his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from San Diego State University in 1977.
The Commission on Judicial Performance is an independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints statewide of judicial misconduct and judicial incapacity and for disciplining judges under article VI, section 18, of the California Constitution.
The Commission’s mandate is to protect the public, enforce rigorous standards of judicial conduct, and maintain public confidence in the integrity and independence of the judicial system. The Commission’s jurisdiction includes all judges of California’s superior courts and the State Bar Court, and the justices of the Courts of Appeal and Supreme Court.
The Commission has 11 members: one justice of a court of appeal and two judges of superior courts appointed by the Supreme Court; two attorneys appointed by the Governor; and six lay citizens, two appointed by the Governor, two appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules and two appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly.