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COURT:San Mateo County Superior APPOINTED:July 2002, by Gov. Gray Davis DATE OF BIRTH:Feb. 7, 1959 LAW SCHOOL:Hastings College of the Law PREVIOUS JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE:None Marie Weiner was trying to do the right thing for the well-dressed but excitable man before her during drug court one day in early May. But he was once again facing probation violations in five cases for failing to attend outpatient drug treatment programs aimed at keeping him out of jail. “We care about you,” the San Mateo County Superior Court judge said. “We’re trying to help you.” But, she added, “you’re a person out of control.” The prosecutor, San Mateo County Deputy District Attorney Paul Wendler Jr., who said he knew the man’s parents and had coached him in Little League years ago, called him “a mess.” Fidgeting, the guy made excuse after excuse — his dad was hospitalized with cirrhosis, he had broken up with his girlfriend, she’d stolen all his legal documents. Hearing enough, Weiner ordered the man jailed for a week for an in-custody assessment to decide what could be done as far as further treatment. While being handcuffed by a deputy sheriff, the man gasped “oh my god” as Weiner also ordered $10,000 bail on each of his five cases. Afterward, Weiner, who has two children, said that while she can dole out tough love in drug court, she often finds herself using her “mother skills” as much as her judicial talents. She keeps a bowl of candy in the courtroom to reward drug defendants who keep their noses clean between appearances. “They want the treatment. They need the treatment,” she said. “They just can’t get their act together. It’s getting them in the treatment door that’s the problem.” Weiner, 46, was appointed to the bench in 2002 by then-Gov. Gray Davis and handles a wide range of cases in her South San Francisco courtroom. She is one of two judges presiding over drug diversion, but handles mostly criminal cases. She’s involved in complex civil litigation, however, both because of last year’s retirement of five judges and her experience tackling massive civil cases as a four-year associate and 12-year partner at what’s now Cotchett, Pitre, Simon & McCarthy. It was during Weiner’s tenure that the well-known Burlingame firm provided lead counsel for about 600 plaintiffs in a fraud case, and subsequent insurance bad-faith suits, against Technical Equities, a Bay Area investment company that collapsed upon the discovery of a string of fraudulent investments. At the time, it was the largest financial fraud case ever in California, with verdicts reaching about $120 million. Weiner also played a major role in representing BankAmerica Corp. shareholders in the 1998 merger of the San Francisco institution and NationsBank of Charlotte, N.C. Those kinds of credentials pleased both Willem Jonckheer and James Lyons, who appeared before Weiner last year in a shareholder derivative action. Jonckheer, a partner in San Francisco’s Schubert & Reed, recalled that the judge issued a detailed case management order that laid out the ground rules, while Lyons, a partner in the San Francisco office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, said she easily negotiated a tough matter involving standing. “The case eventually was settled on terms that both sides found attractive,” Lyons said, “but the case could not have been resolved without dealing with this issue of standing first.” Jonckheer said Weiner waded into the issues with the confidence of someone who’s been a judge longer than three years. “We were required to cross our t’s and dot our i’s,” he said, “because she knows this area.” Weiner, who was born in Milwaukee, has her mother to thank for her legal career. Weiner wanted to be a teacher, but by the time she graduated from college, there was a teacher glut, and her mom — whose father had urged all his children to seek higher degrees — suggested the law. Weiner — whose husband, Adam, is a former lawyer who now has a catering business — got her J.D. in 1983 from Hastings College of the Law, and soon after had her first job, as an associate at what was then San Diego’s Milberg, Weiss, Bershad, Specthrie & Lerach. But her legal career almost came to a quick end. Eight days after arriving in San Diego, Weiner’s car was T-boned by another vehicle. She suffered a fractured pelvis and spent six weeks in traction. It was four months before she could walk again. Weiner emerged from that tragedy to forge a legal career as one of the best complex civil litigators in California. “She was a very tough litigator,” Lyons of Skadden, Arps recalled. Weiner said she gave up lawyering for a change of pace, to have more time with her children and to tackle the intellectual challenges of the bench. And she’s not intimidated by anyone. Working 16 years with Joseph Cotchett — “a large person with a large aura,” Weiner said — gave her plenty of confidence. “When I was a trial lawyer,” she said, “I realized you have to know your judge, and those who think an intimidating tactic would work on me don’t know me.” One big fan is Deputy DA Wendler, who at first had misgivings about Weiner’s sweet treats for drug defendants. “Quite frankly, when she told me about it, I thought it was going to be corny,” he said. “But I live and learn, and the way it works she does it well. “It’s not the candy,” Wendler said. “It’s the symbol that you’re doing well and we recognize it.” — Mike McKee 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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