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Born: March 21, 1938Appointed: Aug. 7, 1990 (by Deukmejian)Previous work of note: Orange County Superior Court judge 1985-90 (Deukmejian). Private civil practice 1965-85. Former mayor and city councilman of Irvine.Law degree: University of Illinois College of Law (1961)David Sills is ready, willing and eager to make cutting-edge law on controversial issues.The presiding justice of the Fourth District’s Division Three has made headlines several times in the last few years, ruling that employment decisions made on the basis of salary — even if they fall disproportionately on older workers — does not amount to age discrimination; that deadbeat parents sued for child support aren’t entitled to taxpayer-financed lawyers; and that a parent may not be denied custody of his child on the sole basis that he denies having molsted her.Sills reaches out to find first-impression issues, and often frames his opinions with rhetorical flourishes that place the dispute in a broader public policy context. His approach makes for marvelous reading; it also tends to generate dissents, and has gotten Sills slapped around by the California Supreme Court in the past. In a 1996 Recorder survey, Sills had the most opinions depublished — nine — in a period of just under three years. Of course, Sills publishes more opinions than most other appellate judges, which increases his odds. And his track record has improved sharply since then: In the two years ending in October 1998, he saw only one opinion depublished.Sills’ notable opinions don’t end with the three listed above. Also of interest is Clark v. Superior Court, 62 Cal.App.4th 576, the deadbeat parent case, and Shea v. DMV, 62 Cal.App.4th 1057, in which Sills ruled that the agency could not use unsupervised trainees to analyze drunken drivers’ blood-alcohol tests. Also of interest is his dissent in Marriage of Chandler, 60 Cal.App.4th 124, in which he argued that a trial judge should be allowed to require the establishment of a college trust fund as part of a child support order. That prompted then-Fifth District Justice Sheila Sonenshine to complain, “Will the time ever come when our judiciary comprehends family law is not a separate and distinct category over which judges may impose thir own concepts and value judgments?”

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