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COURT: Sacramento County Superior APPOINTED: May 13, 2002, by Gov. Gray Davis BORN: Aug. 14, 1948 LAW SCHOOL: University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law, 1976 PREVIOUS JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE: None Timothy Frawley is not a laid-back kind of guy. He wasn’t as a former triathlon competitor. He’s not as a current Sacramento County Superior Court judge. The felony trial jurist doesn’t like to be described as intense, but he’s no wallflower on the bench. Maybe “involved” is a better word. He’s the lead inquisitor during voir dire, and he expects lawyers to “get a pretty fair idea” of prospective jurors’ views and biases from his questioning. During trial, he’ll ask his own questions of witnesses if he thinks a point of testimony is unclear. And he’ll encourage jurors to ask their own questions, a practice that he engaged in even before the Judicial Council endorsed it in a new Rule of Court last year. “Some lawyers resent it. Some lawyers seem OK with it,” Frawley said. “For me it’s entirely about making it comprehensible to the jury, making sure the jury gets the best information possible to enable them to make a just decision.” During a recent robbery trial, Frawley asked a police officer on the stand to clarify his testimony about a couple of seemingly innocuous details. He then asked the jury if it had any questions. Two jurors raised their hands. Frawley then reviewed the questions they submitted in writing, paraphrased them to the police officer and, after he answered, gave the two lawyers in the case another opportunity to question the witness. Frawley, among the first Sacramento County jurists to allow juror questions, said the practice has never led to an issue on appeal in one of his cases. “A lot of people don’t like it,” said veteran defense attorney C. Emmett Mahle, who recently tried an unusual homicide case with three juries in Frawley’s courtroom. “But I don’t really mind if the jury asks questions too. I think it keeps the jury involved in the case.” Mahle said the judge runs a “smooth” courtroom, with well-defined � and well-expressed � expectations of how a trial should operate efficiently. Frawley admits he likes to keep courtroom proceedings moving at a fair clip. That get-to-the-point style isn’t popular with every lawyer, but Frawley said he’s acting with the jury in mind. “I think they’re going to make a better decision if they get the evidence in a seamless, uninterrupted fashion,” Frawley said. “If a lawyer comes in and says, ‘Can we break early today because I’m having trouble with this witness?’ I don’t allow that lightly.” Frawley also prefers lawyers who stick with plain English and avoid “legalese” in his courtroom. In a recent hearing he interrupted the proceedings to explain to jurors what a lawyer meant when he referred to a “preliminary hearing.” “I appreciate lawyers who get to the point and don’t dance around it,” he said. “I wonder sometimes where lawyers get the idea that they have to sound highfalutin when they ask their questions. The very best lawyers, the ones where I truly enjoy sitting on the bench and watching it unfold in front of me, have a common touch.” Before Gov. Gray Davis appointed him to the bench in 2002, Frawley was a fixture in the Sacramento County district attorney’s office. He joined the office in 1977 with the hope of gaining some trial experience, and he wound up staying for more than two decades. He took more than 100 cases to trial, including some of the capital region’s most notorious homicides. He was standing in the midtown Sacramento yard of boardinghouse owner Dorothea Puente in 1988 as police investigators dug up the bodies of seven victims, former tenants she was accused of murdering. He secured a death penalty verdict against Alex Dale Thomas, a high school janitor who raped and murdered a student in a shop classroom. And he was scheduled to prosecute Nikolay Soltys, the Ukrainian immigrant who allegedly killed his pregnant wife and five other family members, before Soltys committed suicide in jail. Frawley said it was tough to leave the DA’s office “because I loved what I did.” And now, sometimes, “it’s frustrating to have to sit up there [on the bench] and remain mute,” he admitted. But Frawley said he’s learned a lot during his first five years on the bench and that he enjoys being involved in the judicial process, albeit from a different angle. “I think people who might be critical of me might say I’m too activist,” Frawley said. “But I can tell you I do hold back.” For a complete list of available profiles, go to http://www.law.com/jsp/ca/judicialprofiles.jsp.

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