SAN FRANCISCO—The California Supreme Court today announced the appointment of a new member to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions (CJEO), an independent committee appointed by the court to help inform the judiciary and the public on judicial ethics topics. The committee was established by the Supreme Court as part of its constitutional responsibility to guide the conduct of judges and judicial candidates (Cal. Const, art VI, § 18(m)).
The newly appointed CJEO member is Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow of the Superior Court of San Francisco County. He was appointed to a four-year term. The court also announced the reappointment of two current CJEO members. Justice Maria P. Rivera of the First District Court of Appeal and Presiding Judge Suzanne N. Kingsbury of the Superior Court of El Dorado County will serve additional four-year terms.
In making appointments to serve on CJEO, the Supreme Court selects members of the bench with a strong background in judicial ethics, experience as presiding judge, extensive courtroom experience, and service in courts of various sizes throughout the state. The new member of the committee is an exceptionally experienced judicial officer.
Judge Karnow serves on the San Francisco Superior Court’s Complex Litigation department and was Presiding Judge of his court’s Appellate Division. He has served on several Judicial Council steering committees, task forces, and working groups, including the Leadership Group on Civics Education and Public Outreach. As the chair of the Subcommittee on Discovery and Rules Reform, Judge Karnow assisted in drafting rules on case management, electronic discovery, summary judgment, and trial court local rules. Judge Karnow has published several legal books and written extensively, including articles on judicial ethics. He is a frequent teacher, lecturer, and speaker at law schools, in the legal community, and throughout the judicial branch.
The CJEO is authorized by the Supreme Court to provide judicial ethics advisory opinions and advice for the benefit of the judiciary and the public (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 9.80(a)). The committee publishes formal opinions, issues confidential informal opinions, and provides oral advice on proper judicial conduct pursuant to the California Code of Judicial Ethics and other authorities (rule 9.80(e)(1)). The CJEO acts independently of the Supreme Court, the Commission on Judicial Performance, the Judicial Council, and all other entities (rule 9.80(b)).
The Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions members are: Justice Ronald B. Robie of the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District (chair); Justice Douglas P. Miller of the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two (vice-chair); Justice Maria P. Rivera of the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Four; Justice Judith L. Haller of the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One; Presiding Judge Suzanne N. Kingsbury of the Superior Court of El Dorado County; Judge Robert J. Trentacosta of the Superior Court of San Diego County; Judge Kenneth K. So of the Superior Court of San Diego County; Judge Michael Garcia (Ret.) of the Superior Court of Sacramento County; Judge Joanne B. O’Donnell of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County; Judge George J. Abdallah, Jr. of the Superior Court of San Joaquin County; Judge Curtis E.A. Karnow of the Superior Court of San Francisco County; and Commissioner Lowell Richards of the Superior Court of Contra Costa County.