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Born: Dec. 3 1952Previous work of note: Santa Clara County Municipal Court, 1993-98Law degree: Santa Clara University School of Law (1977)Judge Jerome Nadler doesn’t exactly fit the mold of a former-prosecutor-elected-judge in Santa Clara County. He knows he is considered liberal by some people but says he prefers to be thought of as “progressive.”As a deputy district attorney, Nadler created the environmental crimes unit.When prompted by a photographer hoping for props and poses for a photograph to accompany this story, Nadler reached into his closet and offered jokingly to pose with a movie placard from The Toxic Avenger.“That’s what my investigators used to call me,” Nadler said with a grin.Nadler said he doesn’t like to follow the “cookie-cutter” approach to doling out punishment. Rather, Nadler says he approaches his job holistically — asking himself how effective his sentences will be. Sometimes treatment rather than incarceration is the right answer.“Often times we forget these people are individuals and they need individual sentences,” Nadler says. “Our imposition of all these requirements is an impediment to [defendants] succeeding.”In 1988 Nadler authored AB 3180, which helped establish one of the first drug court calendars in the state.Nadler is assigned to the in-custody misdemeanor arraignment and violation of probation calendar. This means Nadler handles large calendars – which is the way he likes it, since he doesn’t get bored. It is also satisfying, Nadler says, because he gets to interact with the defendants directly.Deputy District Attorney Deborah Baldocchi said when she first joined the DA’s office several years ago, she was grateful for Nadler’s gentle disposition and his sense of humor.Unlike some judges who will sentence someone simply by the book, Baldocchi said Nadler always tried to reach a consensus as to what the prosecutor, defense attorney and what he himself wanted from the defendant.“Sometimes he would bring a new angle to the table,” Baldocchi says.Deputy Public Defender Sylvia Perez concurs, saying that she appreciated that Nadler took the input from both sides before deciding on a disposition.On a personal level, Perez says she found Nadler was not the type to go on a power trip.Deputy Public Defender Bernardo Saucedo said he appreciated the thoughtfulness with which Nadler treated the defendants in domestic violence court when he had that assignment several years ago. Nadler said he was the first judge in the county to establish a misdemeanor domestic violence calendar, in 1994.“Judge Nadler doesn’t have certain ideas about a case beforehand,” Saucedo said. “And he doesn’t think you have to destroy the person but that you can do something helpful for him.”Nadler ran against District Attorney George Kennedy for the top job in 1990, hoping to further the cause of alternative sentences. Nadler made a strong showing, garnering 45 percent of the vote as a deputy running against the then-chief assistant – but he also created some lingering bitterness among Kennedy loyalists.Nadler says the animosity from the election is gone – since most of the deputies who appear before him now weren’t even in the office then.“Now they just hear stories,” Nadler says.Before Nadler joined the DA’s office in 1982, he spent four years as a staff attorney with the Santa Clara County administrator’s office, which no longer exists. The office focused on making the county’s criminal justice system more effective. In 1992, Nadler was elected to the municipal court.Although Nadler’s political bid was unsuccessful, there is one famous Nadler in the family. Judy Nadler, the judge’s wife of 26 years, is the mayor of Santa Clara.He quipped, “I married her because she is the mayor.”

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