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COURT:U.S. District Court, Eastern District (Sacramento) APPOINTED:1996 by George H.W. Bush DATE OF BIRTH:May 28, 1938 LAW SCHOOL:Boalt Hall School of Law PREVIOUS JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE:None To the uninitiated, a political map of Eastern District Judge William Shubb’s decisions might look like the World’s-Crookedest-Street stretch of San Francisco’s Lombard Street. A George H.W. Bush appointee, Shubb in 1997 overturned the death penalty conviction of Anthony Bean, convicted of two murders, on the basis of ineffectual defense. In 2000′s Silveira v. Lockyer, Shubb ruled in favor of California’s assault weapon ban. In 2002, Shubb held in United States v. Milesthat compulsory DNA testing of probationers constituted a violation of the Fourth Amendment. And in 2003, Shubb ruled that the state’s Holocaust Victim Insurance Relief Act of 1999 was preempted by the president’s ability to conduct national foreign policy. Shubb says his record is easy to understand — if politics are eliminated from the picture. “To me, judicial activism is wrong, no matter which side of the political spectrum it’s on,” Shubb said. “To me, the role of the judge, especially the role of the district court judge, is to determine the law and follow the law. “I personally disagree with most of the decisions I make.” In Shubb’s view, the legal interpretation of a particular case should not be determined by who’s on the bench. “If you ask yourself, ‘If this had been assigned to a different judge, would the result be any different?’ The answer should probably be ‘No.’” Top litigators who have tried cases before Shubb say the judge’s qualifications are indisputable. “He’s quite simply one of the best federal judges I have ever had the pleasure of coming in contact with,” said Morrison & Foerster partner Harold McElhinny, who represented Chiron Corp. on the losing side of a $300 million patent infringement claim against Genentech Inc. in 2002. McElhinny described the case as “very complex, very cutting edge, very interesting and very important” to the biotech industry — and one that was so widely attended by lawyers that Shubb jokes the audience’s billable hours “would have boggled the judicial mind.” McElhinny praised Shubb for mastering much of the complex technology involved in his case. And while “some judges duck hard issues … ignoring what they don’t understand,” McElhinny said, Shubb “conceded every issue he didn’t know,” zeroing in on questions he wanted explained. John Keker, who represented Genentech in the case, said, “He lets lawyers try their case, which is becoming rarer and rarer these days.” Attorneys who try to dodge Shubb’s inquiries can find themselves on the short end of the judge’s patience. “When Judge Shubb wants to stress a point, he can blow up,” said Christopher Wohl of Sacramento’s Wohl Sammis Christian & Perkins, who has appeared before Shubb on various employment issues. “He’s done his work, he’s very well prepared, and he expects you to do the same.” Shubb insists his high standards are mandatory in federal court, particularly in the Eastern District, which, he says, “has the highest caseload of any court in the United States.” “I don’t want to hear posturing, I don’t want to hear arguments about one lawyer’s conduct or another lawyer’s conduct,” Shubb said. “We’re here to get it right. So � I’m going to ask questions, and I am going to want answers. That’s what good lawyering is all about.” With 25 years of attorney experience under his belt, Shubb said he prides himself on being “about three steps ahead of the lawyers” and knowing “when an issue is about to rise before it actually does.” Shubb said he stays on top of his workload with the help of law clerks who begin dividing up the law and motion calendar weeks before Shubb actually convenes the scheduled matters. Shubb begins hashing out the cases with his clerks two weeks before the calendar is called — even before the opposition and replies begin to come in. “Don’t hold your argument back for the moving party,” warns Shubb. “Now you know we’re working on this before they come in.” Shubb says he is proudest of some of his lesser-known decisions, ones where he says judicial discretion really made a difference. He mentions the case of Ravaa Bernard Meadors, a homeless parole violator who was granted an unescorted furlough by Shubb in December to care for his terminally ill father. Meadors visited his father and then returned to prison — just as he had promised Shubb he would. The judge also likes to cite his ruling in the case of Scott Lewis Rendelman. Originally incarcerated for a white-collar crime, Rendelman was so embittered by his prison experience he didn’t want to be released and so sent threatening letters to public officials as a way of getting re-sentenced to prison. Shubb refused to re-sentence Rendelman, who subsequently got a job and turned his life around. “It’s an incredible power,” Shubb said, “those little things you do in the middle of everything else.” 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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