In addition to enjoying the breathtaking views from the Center, the County Bar will hold a dinner program to elect 2013 Officers and Directors and California Conference of Bar Association Delegates. The night will be highlighted by the County Bar’s presentation of three prestigious awards:
John T. Rickard Judicial Service Award – Judge Frank Ochoa
This award is named after Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge John T. Rickard. John T. Rickard became the City Attorney of Santa Barbara in the 1940s. In 1953, he ran for and was elected Mayor of Santa Barbara. He served as Mayor until 1957. He continued his career as a lawyer until he was appointed to the bench as a Superior Court Judge in 1968 where he served for 14 years. In his honor, the County Bar presents the John T. Rickard Judicial Service Award to an individual who made outstanding contributions to the judiciary and/or the local court system.
This year, the County Bar is honored to present this award to Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa. Judge Ochoa was elected to the Santa Barbara Superior Court in 1996. He was the court’s Presiding Judge from 1998 to 2001, managing the court through the Superior/Municipal court unification process. Before his elevation to the Superior Court he served as a Judge on the Santa Barbara Municipal Court for 14 years, having been appointed to the bench by Governor Jerry Brown on January 2, 1983. Judge Ochoa currently handles a Criminal trial department with both felony and misdemeanor cases. He has handled the Juvenile Delinquency, Juvenile Dependency, and Mental Health calendars for the court, in addition to civil, family law, and probate matters. He also founded two adult and one Juvenile Drug Court calendars in Santa Barbara.
At the state level, Judge Ochoa has been appointed by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court to a number of statewide posts. He has served as a member of the California Judicial Council’s Trial Court Budget Commission, as well as the Presiding Judges’ Advisory Committee. He was appointed to the Presiding Judges’ Advisory Committee Transitional Executive Committee during the court unification process. He has also served on the Probation Services Task Force and as a Task Force liaison to the Judicial Council’s Proposition 36 Implementation Working Group. He is a Special Master for the Commission on Judicial Performance. Judge Ochoa previously served on the
Executive Board of the California Judges’ Association, and as Chair of CJA’s Court Administration Committee. He was also elected to the Executive Board of the Juvenile Court Judges of California and served on its legislative review team.
Not only has Judge Ochoa contributed to our local court system and the judiciary on a state-wide level, but he has made a significant impact in our local community. Judge Ochoa founded and organized the Latina/o Lawyers’ Association of Santa Barbara, which brings together the bar to discuss issues in the Latina/o community. This is the bar first organization of this kind in Santa Barbara. Judge Ochoa has taught a course entitled Law and Civil Rights in the Chicana/o Studies Department at UCSB. Judge Ochoa has also served on the Santa Barbara County Advisory Board of Casa Pacifica, was a Founding Trustee of the Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation, Board President of the Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law, Board Member of Old Spanish Days, Board Member of the UC Davis School of Law Alumni Association, Board Member of the UCSB Alumni Association, Member of the Santa Barbara Hispanic Achievement Council, Founding Member of the Santa Barbara American Inns of Court, Member of Fighting Back Task Force, Board Member of Santa Barbara County Community Action Commission, Member and Chair of Santa Barbara County Affirmative Action Commission, Judicial Coordinator of Santa Barbara County High Schools Mock Trial Competition, and Advisory Board Member of Santa Barbara PARC Foundation (Parks & Recreation Community Foundation).
Judge Ochoa has contributed to the judiciary, our local court system, and our local community in an immeasurable way. The County Bar is honored to present the John T. Rickard Judicial Service Award to Judge Frank Ochoa this year.
Pro Bono – Attorney Emily Allen
This award is presented to an individual who donated at least 50 hours of direct legal services to low income persons without expectation of remuneration during the calendar year.
This year, the County Bar will present this award to local attorney Emily Allen. Emily Allen has volunteered her time nearly her entire life. Since graduating from law school in 2004 and returning to Santa Barbara, Ms. Allen has selflessly volunteered her time to help low income and homeless persons in our community. Ms. Allen has donated hundreds of hours to Restorative Court (RC), a jail diversionary program for defendants chronically charged with minor offenses associated with being homeless. RC diverts eligible individuals to the entirely voluntary Court. The Court runs without any public funding. Commissioner Pauline Maxwell, who presides over RC, states that “Emily spends a great deal of time working to improve the lot of the mentally ill, substance abusers, and the homeless.” Ms. Allen’s devotion to these individuals who desperately need assistance is unwavering. Emily Allen attends weekly staffing meetings for RC and is the only private attorney who regularly donates her time to represent many of the defendants who appear in RC. Ms. Allen has also spent countless hours helping them outside of court. She has driven participants to medical appointments, picked up prescriptions, and has taken participants to residential treatment centers as far away as Pasadena and Santa Monica. She also helps participants complete benefit forms, has taken individuals from the street to detoxification centers, and has connected them with services, shelters, food, and clothing providers. When not assisting individuals directly, she is advocating for them. She appears at hearings in front of the Board of Supervisors and keeps the RC staff apprised of every opportunity for assistance.
Ms. Allen’s volunteer work is not limited to RC. Ms. Allen serves on the Coordinating Committee of the Homeless Systems Merger, is a member of the Santa Barbara City/County Homeless Advisory Committee, Santa Barbara Community Housing Corporation, Santa Barbara Community Action Network, and Volunteer Coordinator for Freedom Warning Centers for Casa Esperanza. Ms. Allen also represents indigent defendants on the minor offense arraignment calendar and works at the Managing Attorney for the Homeless Education and Legal Project for the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County.
The County Bar is honored to present the Pro Bono Award to Ms. Allen who has generously donated her time, which has directly improved the lives of low or no income individuals in our community.
Richard Abbe Humanitarian Award – Attorneys Tara Haaland-Ford and Jody Kaufman
This award is presented to an outstanding attorney or judge whose life, leadership and conduct exemplifies humanitarian principles. The award is named after an Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal. Richard Abbe became district attorney of Shasta County and in 1965 was appointed to serve on the Superior Court of Shasta County. In 1982, Richard Abbe was appointed to Division Six of the Second District of the California Court of Appeal. Justice Abbe served as an Associate Justice until 1990. Justice Abbe was widely recognized for his contributions to state family and environmental law, and for his commitment to humanitarian causes.
This year, the County Bar will present this award to two local attorneys: Tara Haaland-Ford and Jody Kaufman. Ms. Haaland-Ford and Ms. Kaufman have been the driving force behind the Teen Legal Clinic, a non-profit legal service organization in Santa Barbara.
The Santa Barbara Teen Legal Clinic provides free legal services to teens in the Santa Barbara area on a number of legal issues. The clinic includes volunteer attorneys in the Santa Barbara Legal Community and non-attorney staff and student volunteers. The Clinic provides legal services to teens in the areas of civil rights, guardianship, immigration, education law, suspensions, truancy Issues, emancipation, health care, pregnant and parenting minors, special education matters, expulsions, and children living away from parents.
Tara Haaland-Ford is the current Vice Chairperson and former Secretary of the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission in Santa Barbara and the current President of the Santa Barbara Teen Legal Clinic Board of Directors. Jody Kaufman is the Vice President of the Santa Barbara Teen Legal Clinic Board of Directors. Both have served as advocates and mentors to an underrepresented population in our community.
For more information about the Annual Dinner, including how to purchase a ticket, contact County Bar Executive Director Lida Sideris at (805) 569-5511.