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EX-HEALTH LAWYER HITS CRIMINAL BOOKS COURT: Alameda County Superior APPOINTED: Oct. 10, 2002, by Gov. Gray Davis BORN: July 29, 1955 LAW SCHOOL: Santa Clara University School of Law, 1979 PREVIOUS JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE: None Before health care reform became the hot-button issue it is today, Delbert Gee was one of the players � but on the less popular side, representing health care plans and HMOs in civil litigation. Gee, now a superior court judge at the George E. McDonald Hall of Justice in Alameda, spent more than 20 years in private civil practice, specializing in health law and insurance coverage, before getting appointed to the bench in 2002. “It dealt with some of the most important issues facing the country,” said Gee, 51, reflecting on his previous legal career. These days he has a general criminal law assignment. The relatively recent appointee previously worked in the criminal division in Oakland and, before that, in juvenile delinquency and dependency in Hayward. He says he’s seen his share of excitement in the courtroom but maintains a low profile at the courthouse by the beach, since felony trials and sentencing are done in Oakland. His chambers in Alameda show a more personal side than most defendants are probably accustomed to seeing from him in court; there’s a mini Raiders helmet, a football clock and a poster of The Who. In 1973, the future judge stood 30 feet from the stage at the famous concert at the Cow Palace when drummer Keith Moon passed out on stage and an audience member filled in for Moon on the drums. It’s an anecdote Gee has shared with at least two attorneys. Perhaps it’s Gee’s ability to balance his personable and formal sides that has earned him equal respect from prosecutors and defense attorneys. A handful of attorneys that have presented cases before him call him approachable, unflappable and thorough in explaining his decisions. “If he doesn’t know something, he’s not afraid to say that he doesn’t know it,” Deputy DA Paul Pinney said, recalling times that Gee has researched criminal issues, such as restitution and search and seizure. And several attorneys agreed that Gee tries to make people in his courtroom feel comfortable. Deputy Public Defender James Rodriguez said he appreciated Gee’s respectful attitude toward everyone, including defendants. “It makes the process a little bit more comfortable and a little less likely to seem like a factory or a machine,” Rodriguez said. “It doesn’t put a fear of the system into them so much, as with other judges who can really put a fear into clients unnecessarily.” His understanding of different perspectives � including those of the parties suing his clients � was apparent in his previous legal career, according to his former colleague at three firms, attorney Brock Phillips. “He was always able to see both sides of a question,” Phillips said. “He was always trying to get a resolution that seemed fair.” Gee recalls one case he handled for Blue Cross in 1992 in which a patient suffering from multiple myeloma had sued because he’d been denied coverage for an experimental medical treatment to save his life. His health plan had excluded experimental therapy, Gee said, but the U.S. district court ruled in favor of the patient. Looking back, Gee said he understood why the patient sued, and why the judge ruled against Blue Cross. Phillips met Gee over two decades ago when Gee had just left the Ventura County DA’s office and joined the San Francisco law firm then known as Hassard, Bonnington, Rogers & Huber as an associate. From there, Gee spent two years at the larger firm Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon, then joined Phillips as a partner at Sturgeon, Keller, Phillips, Gee & O’Leary in 1990. Just before heading to the bench he was a partner at Pacific West Law Group. Though most of his cases haven’t attracted much media attention, the San Francisco Chronicle highlighted one misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter case last January. Gee sentenced a truck driver � who had accidentally hit and killed an 84-year-old man � to a work-furlough program for six months. At the ruling, Gee stressed society’s “obligation to protect those vulnerable individuals” and called the tragedy “an easily avoidable accident,” according to the Chronicle. Despite Gee’s lower-profile caseload, he’s influential. As the supervising judge in his courthouse, he is one of 18 members on the court’s executive committee, which determines court policies, Presiding Judge George Hernandez Jr. said. Hernandez, who selected Gee to be a supervising judge, said he was impressed by Gee’s connection with the community. The Alameda County native decided to stay put all these years aside from a brief stint at the Ventura County DA’s office. “You want someone there � who’s invested in the community,” Hernandez said, “someone who understands how the world really works.” Part of Gee’s realism comes through in his commitment to getting more Asian-Americans and other minorities on the bench. Gee, a Chinese-American, mentors young law students and attorneys through the Asian American Bar Association, speaking on panels and offering individual advice, said association president David Chiu, who has worked with Gee for the last few years. The former political science major keeps his explanation of this priority simple and pragmatic: “How can [the community] expect justice if the judiciary doesn’t look like them at all?” You can order past judicial profiles of more than 100 Bay Area judges here or by calling 415-749-5406.

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