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COURT:Third District Court of Appeal APPOINTED:Aug. 6, 1990, by Gov. George Deukmejian DATE OF BIRTH:Sept. 6, 1946 LAW SCHOOL:University of Oklahoma College of Law, 1970 PREVIOUS JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE:Sacramento County Superior Court, 1989-91 Attorneys looking to display their oratorical splendor won’t find an interested audience in Third District Court of Appeal Justice Vance Raye. “I view an argument as a conversation between learned professionals about legal issues,” says Raye, “and so I am a little annoyed at attorneys who view [oral argument] as an opportunity to again deliver their closing arguments to the jury. I think you need a balance between showing enough emotion to make it clear you feel strongly about your argument and delivering a Perry Mason, impassioned sort of trial attorney-type presentation.” The 58-year-old former JAG prosecutor and legal affairs secretary to Gov. George Deukmejian instead prefers diligent research and careful analysis. “He’s an extremely capable justice who gives very close attention to the case he’s involved with,” says Steven Merksamer, of Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor, who as Deukmejian’s chief of staff hired Raye in 1983. “He sees the subtle nuance of things,” says Arthur Scotland, the presiding judge of the Third District. “You can just see the wheels spinning, and at just the right time, he speaks up.” A native of Muskogee, Okla., Raye says he was drawn to the law because it was such an ideal venue for his analytical mind and scholarly interests. “I think what I liked about it more than anything else is that it seemed so substantive,” recalls Raye of his law school days at the University of Oklahoma. “It seemed like something you could really sink your teeth into — you applied what you learned to the problem-solving, and you came up with an answer. Although I was later to learn that the answers were not always unassailable, there was a process that led to an outcome.” Raye says he prefers working alone on legal research. “I probably do too much research, given that we each have two research attorneys who devote their whole lives to research,” says Raye. Only when he feels grounded in the subject does Raye settle in to write. “You are a creator,” said Raye. “You’re working off the product of others who have offered their views on how the problem ought to be solved, but you also have the opportunity to evaluate the issue yourself and come up with a solution.” In his opinions for the court, Raye has said the CHP can stop highway protests that cause traffic congestion; ruled that an inmate’s suit is deemed “filed” when handed to prison authorities for mailing; and restricted the state’s right to charge insurance companies for the investigation of consumer complaints. He also wrote that a supervisor’s sexual relationship with an employee doesn’t automatically constitute sexual harassment. In a 2000 case, Raye reaffirmed the role of the state Department of Water Resources as the lead agency in preparing environmental impact reports for the state water project, but challenged, for the record, the state’s promise to deliver 4.23 million acre-feet, stating the “actual reliable water supply” from the project ” is more in the vicinity of 2 to 2.5 million acre-feet.” “That was probably one of the most importance cases in California water law,” says Merksamer. “It took a lot of guts.” Nevertheless, Raye says the work of the Third District is more derivative than creative. “I think the vast majority of cases we decide are based on � a process of deciding what the controlling principles of law are, and then applying those to an undisputed set of facts,” says Raye. “That’s a recipe for consensus.” Just a few weeks ago, Raye sided with the majority on a decision affirming that the Sacramento Municipal Utility District had no reason to sidestep Proposition 209, which bans preferential treatment for minority contractors. One of just a handful of African-American appellate justices, Raye says he doesn’t feel pressured to represent any particular group or even to dwell on any prejudice he may have encountered. “Hopefully, this is a new day and that was a different time and a different place,” said Raye, who serves as a member of 100 Black Men of Sacramento Inc., a group dedicated to matching young African- American men with adult mentors. Those who have observed Raye over the years — at the attorney general’s office, the governor’s office, on the bench and even on the tennis court — say he is unfailingly courteous and even-tempered. Even when an attorney becomes argumentative, he keeps his voice low. Raye, who serves as the chairman of the Commission on Judicial Performance, doesn’t think judges should be booted from office solely based on poor demeanor. When the commission voted in 2003 to remove Bruce Van Voorhis from the Contra Costa County bench, Raye broke from his colleagues. He wrote that while he deplored Van Voorhis’ demeanor, removal was too harsh a punishment. “Perhaps charm and geniality will not be his hallmark,” Raye wrote. “But that is not an appropriate measure of his prospects for reform and future judicial temperance.” But Raye said he doesn’t believe the commission is targeting grumpy judges. “Certainly, there has been no discussion on the commission about the need to crack down on demeanor,” says Raye. “We just crack down on misconduct.” You can order past judicial profiles of more than 100 Bay Area judges at www.therecorder.com/profiles.htmlor by calling 415-749-5523.

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