CELEBRATION OF THE 100TH ANNIVERSARIES OF THE ORANGE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION AND THE OLD ORANGE COUNTY COURTHOUSE
The Supreme Court of California convened in
the courtroom in the Old Orange County Courthouse,
211 W. Santa Ana Boulevard, Santa Ana, California,
on October 4, 2001, at 10:00 a.m.
Present: Chief Justice Ronald M. George,
presiding, Associate Justices Kennard, Baxter,
Werdegar, Chin, and Brown, and Presiding Justice
Mildred L. Lillie. Officers present: Frederick
K. Ohlrich, Clerk; and Harry Kinney, Supreme
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
Good morning. We are assembled here today for
a special session of the California Supreme
Court held in the Orange County courthouse.
On behalf of the Supreme Court, I want to thank
the Orange County Bar Association and the Orange
County Superior Court for inviting us to join
in this celebration of the 100th anniversary
of the bar association and of the Old County
Courthouse where the bar had its start. As we
celebrate the history of this bar and this building
we are making a little bit of history on our
ownæthis is the first time that the supreme
court has held an oral argument session in Orange
Although this is the court's first visit here,
Orange County has been well represented on the
Supreme Court. In the audience today is retired
Justice John Arguelles and his wife Martha.
He joined the Supreme Court in 1987, coming
to it from Orange County, and he returned here
after he stepped down.
Other Supreme Court justices have had connections
to Orange County. Former Chief Justice Malcolm
Lucas resided in Los Alamitos when he was appointed
to the court in 1984. Justice Marcus Kaufman
is a current resident. Former Chief Justice
Donald Wright was born in Placentia in 1907,
and Justice Cruz Reynoso attended grammar school
in La Habra in the 1940's. In short, there are
many connections between Orange County and the
With me today are the members of the present
Supreme Court, and I would like to take a moment
to introduce them to you. To my right is Associate
Justice Joyce Kennard, the Supreme Court's Senior
Associate Justice. Next to her is Justice Kathryn
Werdegar, and next to her Justice Janice Brown.
To my left is Associate Justice Marvin Baxter,
and next to him is Justice Ming Chin.
Seated next to Justice Chin is Presiding Justice
Mildred Lillie of the Court of Appeal, Second
District, Division Seven, located in Los Angeles.
She will be serving by assignment as a justice
pro tem on the case that will be argued before
us this morning after the close of this special
I wanted to note that Justice Lillie has seen
a good share of California history from the
bench. She was first appointed to the municipal
court in 1947, and continues her long and distinguished
career on the bench to this day.
I would also like to welcome Presiding Judge
of Orange County Superior Court C. Robert Jameson,
and Danni Murphy, President of the Orange County
Bar Association, Supervisor Cynthia Coad, Chair
of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and
Senator Joseph Dunn, whose district encompasses
much of Orange County. We shall be hearing from
them in a few minutes. There are many other
distinguished guests from the community and
the courts, including the Court of Appeal, who
are in attendance here with us today, but there
is not time to recognize them all individually.
I also want to welcome the Orange County high
school students who are viewing these proceedings
at a separate location through a video link,
and other members of the bench, the bar, and
the community who are watching this morning's
activities via closed-circuit television, and
I understand that students from Orange County's
two law schools, Western State University Law
School and Chapman University Law School, will
be present during the various oral arguments.
Justice Lillie is serving in a special capacity
today. One of the historic figures on our court,
Justice Stanley Mosk, died last June. The court
has continued to adhere to its oral argument
schedule. As is always the case when a justice
is unable to sit, I have assigned Court of Appeal
justices, like Justice Lillie, from an alphabetical
list, to serve as Supreme Court justices pro
tem—each sitting for one case with the
Justice Mosk served as an associate justice
of the Supreme Court for almost 37 years. Throughout
his career Justice Mosk was known for his dedication
and scholarship. His opinions often provided
illuminating guidance—not only for California’s
courts but nationwide.
A few days ago Governor Gray Davis named United
States District Court Judge Carlos Moreno as
his nominee to fill the vacancy left by Justice
Mosk’s death. Upon his confirmation to
Justice Mosk’s seat, Justice Moreno will
have both a fine model to aspire to and a difficult
act to follow. His confirmation hearing before
the Commission on Judicial Appointments will
be held on October 17. As chair of that commission,
it would not be appropriate for me to make any
comments about the individual nominee, but I
can say on behalf of my colleagues on the court
that we are very much looking forward to having
a new permanent member join us on the bench.
In January 2000, the Supreme Court celebrated
its own 150th anniversary in an historic courtroom
located in Sacramento. Recently renovated, the
courtroom, situated on the second floor of a
building in Old Sacramento, is the earliest
surviving home of the Supreme Court, where the
court sat in the 1850’s and 1860’s.
In fact, our court began operations a few months
before California formally joined the union
as a state.
One hundred or 150 years ago may seem like a
very long time. And in terms of the changes
that have occurred over this period, that may
be an accurate assessment. At the same time,
however, it gives one a new perspective to realize
that for more than one-third of the 100 years
this courthouse has stood—and for nearly
one-quarter of our entire state’s historyæJustice
Mosk was serving on our state’s Supreme
Court. And Justice Lillie, of course, has served
as a judge for more than half this building’s
In the course of doing some research for this
ceremonial session, I discovered that Orange
County became a separate county only in 1889
æ breaking away from Los Angeles County.
In 1893, property was sold to the new county
on condition that a courthouse be built upon
it within 10 years. Interestingly, a jail first
was built on part of the site, reflecting perhaps
a change in the priorities of the new county.
Two years later, in 1889, a bond issue was passed
for the purpose of developing plans for the
courthouse. A contest was held to select the
best plans for the construction of a courthouse—and
the grand prize was the princely sum of $2,400.
After the original winner was disqualified for
trying to bribe some of the county supervisors,
Los Angeles architect C. L. Strange was selected
to proceed in 1900. The original designs for
the structure included some lavish details that
were omitted when the building was constructed.
The marble wainscoting in the main floor corridors
was replaced with tile work, and the bronzed
doors at the main entrance became oak.
The building was dedicated on November 12, 1901.
It was designed not only as a courthouse, but
also as the home of the county clerk, recorder,
treasurer, auditor, tax collector, assessor,
board of supervisors, district attorney, school
superintendent, sheriff, county surveyor, board
of education, and court reporter.
It contained one courtroom, chambers for the
judge, the judge’s library, a law library
and a school library. The building was built
in a grand style, but in view of the large number
of occupants, I imagine some of them gladly
would have traded grandeur for more space.
Even so, it was a place for experiment—one
of the first courthouses in the area to use
electricity. Electricity was not always an abundant
or reliable source of power—a problem
with which we all can still sympathize—and
the skylight in the rotunda, chandeliers, gas
lamps and sconces were installed as supplements.
In 1914, a second courtroom was added, and after
the 19th Amendment resulted in women not only
obtaining the right to vote, but also sitting
on juries, a lady’s room was added to
the jury facilities.
The courthouse quickly inspired the bar. The
Orange County Bar Association was formed by
10 lawyers who met in the new courthouse on
November 22, 1901 æ ten days after dedication
of the building. The first president of the
association was Victor Montgomery, a Civil War
veteran and one of one hundred lawyers in the
One of the first orders of business was the
adoption of a bar constitution that included
a minimum fee schedule and prohibited giving
advice “on the street,” or “free
advice,” except to a regular client. It
appears that, unlike today, there was not much
emphasis placed on making pro bono contributions
to the community.
In fact, many things have changed in the one
hundred years since this building and this bar
association first became stalwarts of the community.
Electricity still may not always be a completely
reliable supply—but it is universally
available. Pro bono work by attorneys is accepted
as one of the obligations of being a professional.
And not only has the composition of juries changed
to include women, but opportunities for women
have expanded to every part of society.
Those 10 founding male members of the bar association
would be truly astonished to see their organization
and the board of supervisors led by women and
to see four women justices on the bench here
Female faces are not the only ones who might
seem surprising to those early civic pioneers.
Orange County, like all of California, has become
increasingly diverse. Hispanic and Asian residents
are an expanding part of the population, and
your county is home to the first Vietnamese
judge in the state.
Individuals from every background now serve
on California’s bench at every level.
They also can be found in the clerks’
offices, secretarial offices, and in uniform
at the courthouse door. They appear as attorneys,
litigants, and witnesses. They assist as social
workers, translators, and probation officers.
Every day, across our state, more than one hundred
languages are spoken and translated in our courts.
Why then highlight the achievements of 100 years
ago, when today’s world seems so very
different? In fact, our history is what makes
us what we are today. Celebrations such as this
one offer a unique opportunity to step back
and take the long view—and it is particularly
fitting to do so in the context of a courthouse
and of the lawyers who promote and defend the
rule of law.
Winston Churchill once said, “The buildings
we build end up shaping us.” Today’s
event allows us to consider how we have been
shaped as a community, what we would like to
preserve, and what we would like to see changed
in the future.
Courthouses serve many functions. They are symbols
of the administration of justice. At the same
time, they are heavily trafficked public places.
Inside these structures, individuals can be
disappointed or overjoyed, anxious or elated.
Courthouses must preserve the dignity of the
work performed within their walls. At the same
time they must provide the space, house the
people, and accommodate the tools needed to
accomplish that work.
Just as the population they serve has changed,
courts too have undergone substantial alterations
in the way they function. When we build courthouses
today, our focus is on ensuring meaningful access
for the community as a whole. The challenge
is to effectively use available resources in
order to create an appropriately dignified setting
that acknowledges the importance of the decisions
that are reached here—while inviting the
community to participate and partake of the
resources provided by the court.
Over the past decade, courts have focused in
an entirely new way on their role in serving
the public. They are looking beyond the confines
of the courthouse to the greater community beyond.
Courts have initiated a wide range of innovative
practices and programs, including (1) improving
interpreter services; (2) enhancing jury service;
(3) funding programs to assist self-represented
litigants; (4) establishing dedicated drug and
domestic violence courts; (5) incorporating
the community into ongoing planning efforts;
(6) developing programs aimed at educating students
about the judicial system; (7) holding public
forums where the public can meet judges; (8)
promoting pro bono service by attorneys; (9)
cutting through red tape to facilitate adoptions;
and many other innovations too numerous to mention.
One area in which the court system has been
particularly activeæwithin the limits
of the resources provided us by the state—is
in improving online access to court information
and services. Perhaps the most exciting development
is a new self-help Web site, which was launched
in July. It provides information on everything
from how to find a lawyer to how to file papers
in a dissolution or small claims proceeding
to how to find a safe haven and obtain a restraining
order if you are the victim of domestic abuse.
In the first five weeks of its operation, our
Web site has had more than one million hits.
In short, in a way that would be astonishing
to those who came to court 100 years ago, our
judicial system has been taking a leadership
role in reaching out to the community, ascertaining
its needs, and responding where and when it
Courts have realized that it is incumbent upon
us to provide the leadership and accountability
that demonstrate to the public that their confidence
in the judicial system is well deserved. As
demands on courts have increased, it has become
more and more evident that we must take responsibility
for setting a course for the future and for
planning how to meet the needs of tomorrow.
Today’s event permits us all to reaffirm
our shared history, to take continued strength
from our diversity, to look forward to continued
progress and to inclusion, and to celebrate
with our nation’s long tradition of a
strong and independent judicial system.
The last month has been a sobering and difficult
time for all of us. But through it all, the
people of this county, this state, and this
nation have not panicked or lost faith. They
have remained confident in the underlying strength
of our democratic system and in our nation’s
sense of justice and its commitment to the rule
Today’s event reminds us that our system
grew out of a determination and dedication of
those who came before us. The fair and accessible
administration of justice in our state will
continue to flourish only if we remain committed
to meeting the needs of the ever-growing and
changing community in which we live, while remaining
firmly committed to the rule of law.
Congratulations on your accomplishments, and
thank you for inviting the Supreme Court to
I now would like to invite Presiding Judge Jameson
of the Superior Court of California, County
of Orange, to give some remarks. Judge Jameson.
JUDGE JAMESON: Chief
Justice George, justices of the court, may it
please the court, it is my pleasure to welcome
you to Orange County, and it is indeed an auspicious
and historic occasion.
And I also want to welcome the dignitaries and
bar officials who are in the courtroom today,
the justices and judges of our court, and the
hundreds of people who are watching in three
satellite locations, high school students, law
students, members of the public, members of
the bar, additional judges who couldn’t
make it to this room today, and court staff
who are able to watch this historic occasion
throughout the day.
This courthouse opened for business on October
1, 1901, and had its inaugural ribbon-cutting
on November 12, 1901.
I have invited two special guests today who
started their careers in this building. Everett
Dickey was a fledgling young deputy district
attorney who tried many cases in this courtroom
and across the hall, became a municipal court
judge in 1970, a superior court judge in 1973,
was presiding judge of our court and now sits
on assignment in retirement. Everett.
(Judge Dickey rises.)
In the late 1930’s a young fledgling deputy
district attorney tried his first jury trial
in this courtroom. Uniquely enough it was a
murder case, and that deputy district attorney
went on to be appointed a city judge for the
City of Newport Beach in 1938. In 1947 he was
appointed to the Superior Court of Orange County
where he served with distinction and presided
over the court.
In those days he was the fourth judge on the
court. There were four judges. By comparison
we have 109 judges and 39 commissioners with
our court now, which shows the great growth
of Orange County.
Justice Gardener was then appointed as the presiding
judge of the Fourth District Court of Appeal
in 1970 where he served until 1981, and he—and
even some justices have remarked today about
some of his opinions and remember those opinions
as both significant in developing law and for
their sometimes pithiness and humor.
Justice Gardener when he retired from the appellate
bench became the Chief Justice of the Republic
of Samoa, and when he returned from Samoa in
1990 to the assigned judge program he has sat
full-time for the Superior Court up until a
few months ago, marking almost 63 years on the
bench. Justice Gardener.
(Justice Gardner rises.)
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
Judge Jameson, I think you omitted one of the
accomplishments of Judge Gardener, his renown
book on surfing.
JUDGE JAMESON: Not
only was he an author of a book on surfing,
he was a surfer. He has written a classic book,“Bawdy
Balboa,” which discusses the great history
of Balboa which is worthy of note.
As you can see, Justice Gardener, when he sat
in our court, spent every day in the lunchroom
regaling the judges with stories, some rich,
some sad, some funny, some serious about events
in this courthouse. I wish we had time to share
some of these events with him.
It is indeed an honor to have the court here,
enjoy your stay, and don’t wait another
hundred years before you come back.
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
Thank you, Judge Jameson. I appreciate your
remarks and also the outstanding leadership
of your court. It’s been an innovation
among the courts in California.
JUDGE JAMESON: Thank
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
I now would like to invite Ms. Danni Murphy,
President of the Orange County Bar Association,
and an attorney in the Orange County Public
Defender’s Office to say a few words.
DANNI MURPHY: May
it please the court, it is my great pleasure
to welcome the court to Orange County on behalf
of the Orange County Bar Association. We are
very, very grateful to this court for accepting
our invitation to hold this session in commemoration
of our centennial as well as the Old Courthouse.
This is truly a wonderful and historic event,
not only to the legal community, but also to
our citizens of Orange County. What a great
opportunity for citizens to come and witness
the finest justice system in the world in action,
and what a great opportunity for them to learn,
based on the cases the court will hear today,
what justice for all, for everyone, for everybody
really means in our system.
As the court has already indicated, on November
22, 10 Santa Ana attorneys met here in this
very room in the newly dedicated courthouse,
obviously not the old courthouse then, and formed
the bar association. At that time we know from
history that Orange County was almost still
the wild, wild west.
Santa Ana could not even boast of a paved street,
and as the court has said electricity was scarce—some
things remain the same—and there were
not very many telephones. In fact, the presiding
judge did not own a telephone.
As our bar has taken a trip back to the future
we have learned about those first attorneys
in 1901. We have learned from our early bar
minutes. We know that the more we have changed
the more we stay the same. We know that those
attorneys were concerned about access to justice
and we know that they were concerned about the
quality of the legal profession. We know that
they took pride in this community and they were
leaders in the county. We know that they helped
to shape political and social policy and change,
and so it is today.
I can proudly say that the bar’s dedication
to access to justice has never changed for a
hundred years and we will work diligently until
we reach access to justice for all.
Since November 21, or 22, 1901, the bar and
the courthouse have traveled on parallel paths,
experiencing a continuum of historic events,
and so it is today. We have many dignitaries
and luminaries with us today from the legal
community in celebration of this event.
On behalf of the bar and citizens of Orange
County we once again express our great appreciation
to this court and a thank-you to the court staff
who are absolutely wonderful.
To all of the court, we are honored. Thank you.
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
Thank you, Ms. Murphy.
Senator Joseph Dunn, who represents much of
the County of Orange in Sacramento, is here
to make some remarks. Senator Dunn.
SENATOR DUNN: May
it please the court, distinguished guests, I
just want to share a few brief thoughts.
We oftentimes wonder what it is that truly makes
this nation of ours the greatest in the world.
I believe this nation is the greatest because
it was born out of a place, not of a people,
but of an ideal, an ideal that is embraced in
the last phrase of the pledge of allegiance
that we often say to the flag, “with liberty
and justice for all.”
But if we take a step back and reflect on those
ideals, we come to the realization that they
are oftentimes in conflict with each other,
and the true success of this nation depends
upon our ability as a society to balance liberty
and justice. We—in the political process
we have that burden.
Many in the room today, the court, have heard
me say my colleagues on the Republican side
of the aisle represent the party of liberty.
The colleagues on the Democratic side of the
aisle represent justice. We need each other.
We need to battle each other, work with each
other. That will determine our success.
In the political arena the greater burden in
striking that balance between liberty and justice
we all understand rests indeed with the judicial
process, and we all here today recognize this
court, the highest court of the state, carries
an awesome responsibility in striking that balance
between liberty and justice.
We wish you patience and wisdom, but we stand
a great privilege to have you here in our midst
of what we humbly consider to be the greatest
county in the state, Orange County.
We are truly honored to have the court here.
I’ll reiterate the statement of Judge
Jameson. We hope it is not another hundred years
before you return to our great county.
So, on behalf of the entire Orange County legislative
delegation and I as a member of the Bar, humbly
I believe the best local bar in the State of
California, an individual who has stood before
the superior court and appellate court here
in Orange County, which happens to be the best
in California in my opinion, we welcome you
to Orange County, and with the patience of the
court I have two resolutions from the California
Legislature that I would like to quickly present,
and I promise the court I will not read the
resolutions because they are very long, but
with the indulgence of the court, if I may?
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
I ask our clerk to accept them on behalf of
the court. You may step forward.
SENATOR DUNN: The
first one if I may, Chief Justice, is actually
a presentation to the chairwoman of the Orange
County Supervisors, Board of Supervisors, and
that is a legislative resolution recognizing
the hundredth anniversary of this beautiful
courthouse in Orange County, and again as promised,
I will not read the resolution, but it will
be available for everyone to review.
Supervisor Coad, I present this on behalf of
Well, thank you very much, and, of course, it
will be hung in a very prominent place of honor
right here in the Old Courthouse.
SENATOR DUNN: Thank
you very much.
And one other one, Chief Justice, and that is,
Danni, also a California legislative resolution
recognizing the hundredth anniversary of the
Orange County Bar Association.
Again, I won’t read it, but I present
it to you, Danni, honoring the hundred years
of the greatest local bar in California.
DANNI MURPHY: Thank
you, Senator. Thank you.
SENATOR DUNN: Thank
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
Thank you, Senator Dunn. We now shall hear from
Supervisor Cynthia Coad, Chair of the Orange
County Board of Supervisors, followed by a presentation
to Supervisor Coad by Ms. Murphy.
SUPERVISOR COAD: May
it please the court and distinguished guests,
it is truly an honor for me to be here today
for this historic occasion. In the past 100
years the landscape of Orange County has changed
Just as the Orange County Bar Association has
grown from its initial 10 members to more than
7,000 today, the county has grown from its rural
beginnings when we once harvested the nation’s
citrus crops, avocados and walnuts, to today’s
highly diversified region that produces everything
imaginable from bioengineering to microchips
which were, of course, unheard of a hundred
Though our economy and our landscape continue
to go through many, many transitions, the creativity
and spirit of the people of Orange County has
remained constant. This 100-year-old building
stands as a testament of our community’s
ability to work together just as our wonderful
justices continue to meet the needs of the community
it serves so well.
When I was appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly
to the Committee of Bar Examiners seven years
ago I was privileged to work with the California
Bar Association and witness just how prestigious
California’s justice system is, so on
behalf of the County of Orange I want to thank
Senator Dunn for the plaque. It will be permanently
mounted on this old courthouse’s walls
to commemorate today’s very special session
and 100th anniversary celebration.
Thank you very much for the honor of being here.
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
I believe there is a further presentation—
DANNI MURPHY: Yes.
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
— by Ms. Murphy to Supervisor Coad.
DANNI MURPHY: May
it please the court, Supervisor, I am making
the presentation to the County of Orange on
behalf of the Orange County Bar Association,
and as you said our 7,000 members actual—obviously
this is not the plaque, but we have an extraordinarily
gorgeous plaque that will be hung here we know
on these wonderful walls.
We are very grateful to the County of Orange
for its extraordinary efforts to bring this
building back to its original glory. As you
look around this courthouse you know the history,
that it looks today much like it did 100 years
ago when Judge John Wesley Howard presided here
actually on the one court and married people,
and it looks, the furniture, the ceilings, the
fixtures—the only thing missing are the
spittoons scattered around.
We are very grateful to your community’s
and to Orange County’s support for our
organization and for this courthouse, so I present
to you a replica of the plaque that will be
SUPERVISOR COAD: Our
thanks to the Orange County Bar Association.
You can be assured not only will these plaques
be prominently displayed but we’ll have
a ribbon-cutting when they are mounted to show
that Orange County certainly recognizes the
quality of our justice system and the members
that make up the Orange County Bar Association.
DANNI MURPHY: Thank
CHIEF JUSTICE GEORGE:
Thank you Supervisor Coad.
This concludes the ceremonial session of the
Supreme Court. The court will be hearing oral
argument in four cases during the remainder
of the day, two of which arose in Orange County.
On behalf of the Supreme Court, I again want
to thank the Bar Association of Orange County,
the Orange County Superior Court, and the many
individuals who have assisted in welcoming us
In recognition of the historic nature of this
occasion, and in accordance with our custom,
it is ordered that the proceedings at this special
session be spread in full upon the minutes of
the Supreme Court and published in the Official
Reports of the opinions of this court, and that
a copy of these proceedings be sent to the Orange
County Bar Association and the Orange County
(Derived from Supreme Court minutes and
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