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Alameda County’s incoming presiding judge is shaking up the court’s leadership, putting more rookie judges in supervisory posts. Barbara Miller, who will take over as presiding judge in January, says she made a special effort to give rising stars supervisory opportunities when she crafted the 2004 assignments, which she announced Thursday. She also consolidated civil law and motion. “More and more, we are looking for people who would be good leaders for the court,” Miller said. “These are some of our best and brightest on the court.” Judge Alice Vilardi, a former managing attorney for the Administrative Office of the Courts who was appointed to the bench in 2001, will supervise the Pleasanton branch courthouse. Frank Roesch, a civil litigator tapped in 2001, will supervise the Fremont Hall of Justice. Dan Grimmer, a former court commissioner who was appointed to the bench in 2001, will be the family court presiding judge. Winifred Smith, a former deputy attorney general who was given a gavel in 2000, will supervise the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse. Judge Allan Hymer, who had that post for two years, will hear criminal cases. On Thursday, Hymer was philosophical about the switch. It’s good someone “young and energetic” is taking the reins, he said. Robert Freedman, a veteran judge who is the new assistant PJ, will supervise the Hayward Hall of Justice. In civil law and motion, two judges �� instead of one �� will hear those cases in the U.S. Post Office building in Oakland. Judge Steven Brick, who handled law and motion in Hayward, will now preside in Oakland with Judge James Richman. The two judges will share a caseload that essentially combines their Oakland and Hayward assignments. Moving Brick’s Hayward calendar to Oakland will increase efficiency, Miller said. It will free up a badly needed courtroom in Hayward and will be similar to the two-judge system that was in place before law and motion Judge Judith Ford retired in 2002, she said. The one-judge setup had also spurred complaints from tenants’ attorneys, who said it gave Richman too much power. In August, several lawyers told Presiding Judge Harry Sheppard that Richman favored landlords. Since Richman was the only judge who heard law and motion in Oakland, they argued it gave him too much influence over eviction cases. Sheppard investigated the complaints, but his findings have not been made public. There was also a shake-up in the juvenile court. Judge Carl Morris will take over the presiding judge post from Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte, who will head to Hayward to hear criminal cases. Judge Gail Brewster Bereola will replace Judge Trina Thompson Stanley, who will hear criminal cases at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse. Judge Delbert Gee, who was appointed to the bench in 2002, will replace Smith, who heard juvenile cases in Hayward. “Juvenile and family law tend to be rigorous assignments,” said Miller, adding that she was thrilled that Morris agreed to lead the juvenile court. “We want to make sure everyone does their share.” Most judicial assignment changes will take effect Jan. 1.

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