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COURT: San Francisco Superior APPOINTED: Oct. 2, 2003, by Gov. Gray Davis DATE OF BIRTH: Dec. 6, 1946 LAW SCHOOL: Santa Clara University School of Law, 1971 PREVIOUS JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE: San Francisco Superior Court pro tem judge, 2001-03 When two prosecutors assigned to San Francisco Superior Court Judge Donald Sullivan’s misdemeanor courtroom were to switch to another department, the judge threw a casual lunch of pizza and salad to say good-bye and meet their replacements, recalls prosecutor Jason Riehl. Gracious and personable, Sullivan leads by example and fosters a congenial courtroom, according to several lawyers who’ve gone before him. There’s no acrimony in Sullivan’s department, “because he sets the tone that way,” said Paul Kelly, an assistant DA currently assigned to his courtroom. Or, as San Francisco criminal defense solo Sal Balistreri puts it, Sullivan is “a nice, relaxed fella” with “no fangs.” Sullivan, a past president of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, spent about three decades appearing before judges himself until his appointment to the bench last October. Up to that point, he’d spent his career as a civil trial lawyer, on both the defense and plaintiff sides. Now that he’s donned a black robe, Sullivan doesn’t step on lawyers’ toes, said lawyers in both the criminal and civil bars. “I had trials before other judges that really injected themselves into proceedings,” but that’s not Sullivan’s style, said Blaine Green, an associate at Pillsbury Winthrop who appeared before Sullivan while on loan from his firm to the public defender’s office. “You would think a seasoned trial lawyer like himself would want to get in there,” asking witnesses questions, said plaintiffs lawyer George Choulos, of Choulos, Choulos & Wyle. “But he doesn’t do that.” By treating counsel on both sides with respect, Sullivan sets a tone that encourages jurors to listen to both sides, added Choulos, who had a personal injury trial before the judge last fall. Riehl, who had a trial as well as regular calendar matters before the judge, said Sullivan won’t “knock you down and embarrass you.” Even those whom he’s ruled against say Sullivan comes across as an open-minded, thoughtful listener. “I thought he gave me a fair shake, and he had good questions and good ideas,” said Geoffrey Rotwein, a criminal defense solo. Though Sullivan ruled against his motion, Rotwein recalls, the judge admitted it was a close call. “He encouraged me to take it up on appeal, which I thought was honest.” Joseph Minioza, a partner at Ericksen, Arbuthnot, Kilduff, Day & Lindstrom in Oakland, went before Sullivan in one of the judge’s early trials. At the time, Minioza said, Sullivan’s lack of experience on the bench may have contributed to one “wrong” ruling against him in a civil trial, on a motion to limit an expert’s testimony. But when Minioza moved for reconsideration and gave the judge a deposition transcript, Sullivan read it and reversed himself, the lawyer said. Sullivan, meticulous and earnest, puts his nose to the grindstone, several lawyers said. He puts in long days at times, and seems to expect attorneys to do likewise. Sullivan says he usually gets to court shortly before 8 a.m. and asks public defenders and district attorneys to arrive by 8:30 a.m. to meet and confer on cases. And at least a few lawyers recall staying as late as 6:30 or 7 p.m. to work through motions in limine or jury instructions. “It wasn’t like, �Uh, 5 o’clock, we’ve got to go,’” said Riehl, now a deputy district attorney in Sonoma County. Green remembers staying in the judge’s chambers past 6 p.m. to work on jury instructions for a concealed-gun trial. “It was a good thing that he was actually engaged and working on a case as opposed to leaving at 5 o’clock and asking us to do all the work,” Green said. The judge also likes careful briefing, said Lily Lim, an associate at Cupertino’s Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder, who went before Sullivan as a volunteer prosecutor. “He carefully walked through each of the issues.” For a difficult or unique point of law, Sullivan wants a good brief, he says, “as opposed to saying, �Your honor, I know that, whatever.’ I may not know that at all.” Sullivan is also not fond of mid-trial surprises. If lawyers anticipate any evidentiary matters, they should bring them up early on, he says. After graduating from Santa Clara University School of Law in 1971, Sullivan went to work as a trial lawyer for the California Department of Transportation, representing the agency in more than a dozen counties on issues such as injury to real property and breach of contract. After 15 years in the public sector, Sullivan switched to plaintiffs work for about 17 years. He worked as a senior trial lawyer at Herron & Herron and then Thomas Brandi Law Offices. Becoming a judge was a natural next step, Sullivan said. “I have always liked being in a courtroom.”

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