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Court: Alameda County Appointed: Elevated during unification in 1998 Date of Birth: Oct. 24, 1946 Previous Judicial Experience: Appointed to Alameda County Municipal Court in 1993 by Gov. Pete Wilson Law Degree: University of Connecticut School of Law, 1973. Georgetown University Law Center, LL.M. (Tax) “I like to make order out of chaos,” Alameda County Superior Court Judge Marshall Whitley says. That’s why he’s comfortable supervising the bustling Wiley W. Manuel-Allen E. Broussard court complex — one of the East Bay’s workhorse facilities. On a given morning, people awaiting DUI hearings rub elbows with lead-footed teen-agers paying traffic tickets, disgruntled apartment tenants, and families attending arraignments. In Dept. 112, Whitley handles the master criminal calendar. That means his court is an unrelenting flow of bail hearings and arraignments, with a changing cast of attorneys seeking felony pre-trial assignments. “I like calendar departments,” said Whitley. “They are fast-paced and they are always different.” Attorneys who step into Whitley’s court better be ready to roll, said C. Don Clay, an Oakland criminal defense attorney. Some attorneys who appear in 112 ask Whitley for a felony preliminary hearing date, but show up on the appointed day unprepared, fishing for a new one. Whitley “is very accommodating to lawyers’ calendars,” said Clay. But “if you ask for those dates, you need to be prepared.” The judge runs a relaxed, yet somewhat formal courtroom. Most of his advice to attorneys revolves around ways that they can help keep cases moving smoothly. Whitley says unless the case is a serious felony, he allows one continuance for defendants to enter an initial plea after arraignment. If the defense needs more time to mull a plea, they should waive time, he said. It also bothers him when law enforcement officers are witnesses and fail to appear. “That concerns me. They’ve made the arrest and made the report,” Whitley said. Although the judge’s calendar plays an important role in the courthouse, his impact is also felt behind the scenes, attorneys say. When Whitley took the helm of the court complex two years ago, he switched the courthouses to a master calendar system. Instead of some judges controlling their trial calendars, cases are sent out from Dept. 112. That change allowed Whitley to help eliminate a backlog of misdemeanor trials, said Ralph Crofton, who supervises public defenders at the courthouses. “It turned out to be a much more efficient system,” he said. The judge also had a hand in revising the county bail schedule a few years ago. “We think that we have a very good bail schedule,” Whitley said. “Since I put some time into it, I believe in it.” Clay says during bail hearings, Whitley tends to stick to the county guidelines. “Some judges will arbitrarily set bail outside the schedule because they don’t like certain crimes,” said Clay. “Everyone gets a fair shake” in front of Whitley, he said. Whitley says that he does raise or lower bail, depending on the circumstances the lawyers present in court. One of the supervising judge’s most controversial changes came when he and Presiding Judge William McKinstry decided to place a commissioner — instead of a judge — in misdemeanor traffic court earlier this year. The move caused an uproar in the PD’s office. Public Defender Diane Bellas said that the arrangement violated her clients’ constitutional rights. For a brief period, PDs wouldn’t stipulate to a commissioner, forcing judges to sub into the DUI court. The power struggle was resolved this summer, when Whitley restructured the misdemeanor cases so that public defenders appeared before a judge. Even during those tense months, Whitley listened to everyone’s point of view, said Crofton. “We still feel very strongly that the use of commissioners has become too widespread,” he said. “He didn’t always follow our view, but he listened.” The supervising district attorney said that Whitley has done an admirable job balancing the needs of the courthouses’ players during an ongoing judicial shortage. Although Gov. Gray Davis appointed Alice Vilardi and Frank Roesch to the Alameda County bench this month, there are four other judicial vacancies. “I think [Whitley] has done well given the unenviable task that he was given,” said Russell Giuntini, who supervises the DAs in the court complex. “He’s working with smoke and mirrors.” Perhaps Whitley’s penchant for order lies somewhere among his roots as a Washington, D.C., tax attorney. In the late 1970s Whitley developed tax policy for the District of Columbia. After working as a U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney, he moved west. Whitley was a partner in San Francisco’s Tierney & Whitley for 10 years when Gov. Pete Wilson appointed him to the municipal court. He now teaches tax courses at Golden Gate University School of Law as an adjunct professor, Growing up, Whitley says he was strongly influenced by judges. The late D.C. Superior Court Judge Luke Moore and the late U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Waddy lived in his neighborhood. Whitley clerked for D.C. Superior Court Judge James Washington — Washington worked on Brown v. Board of Education with Thurgood Marshall and Charles Houston. “These were the people who I was associating with,” Whitley said. “I knew that I wanted to do what they were doing.”

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