Judicial Profile: Department 9
Honorable Judith S. Craddick
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- Biographical Information
- Date of Birth:
- May 2, 1938
- Place of Birth:
- Louisville KY
- She graduated from JFK University School of Law in 1980 and was admitted to the bar
- Pre-bench Legal Experience:
- 1986 – 1998 Principal and Managing attorney in law firm of Craddick, Candland and Conti, specializing in defense of Medical malpractice litigation.
Associate in law firm specializing in defense of medical malpractice litigation 1980 June, 1980, J.D., John F. Kennedy University school of Law. December 1980, admitted to California Bar
- Political Affiliation:
- Judicial Experience
- In January of 1998 appointed to the Contra Costa Superior Court by Governor Pete
Wilson, was assigned to Criminal Court.
From September 1998 to December 2002, she was assigned to Family Law Court and
responsible for developing Post-Conviction Domestic Violence Court, Coordinated with
Family Law cases
January of 2001 - 2006, presiding Judge to post-conviction Misdemeanor Domestic
2000-06 Presiding Judge of the Family Law Department
2006-2008 Trial Judge, Civil Department
2009-present Supervising Judge, Civil Department.
- Pre-bench Civic & Professional Activities
- Chairman of Court’s Domestic Violence Committee, Chairman of Court’s Criminal/Civil Crossover Committee, Chairman of Court’s Family Law Committee. Member of the Family Court Services Liaison Committee, Bench-Bar Committee, Court’s Operations Committee, Technology Committee, Court’s Executive Committee, Bench-Bar Committee, and Contra Costa County Committee Against Domestic Violence. Lecturer and instructor on Domestic Violence and Family Law issues to attorneys and California judges.
Lecturer to numerous medical, hospital and insurance company groups, medical-legal panels and instructor of continuing legal education and trial clinics. Author of articles relating to medical malpractice law and litigation issues. Faculty, University of San Francisco School of Law Intensive Advocacy program. Taught multiple CJER judicial education courses.
Former member of the State Bar of California, Alameda County Bar Association, Contra Costa County Bar Association, San Francisco Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Society of Law & Medicine, Association of Defense Counsel, California Medical-Legal Committee.
1998—John F. Kennedy University School of Law, Alumna of the Year, 2001—Peacemaker Award, 2003—Contra Costa County Bar Association Pro Bono and Community Service Award, 2005—Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence Partnership award for dedication, service and leadership, 2005—Contra Costa County Bar Family Law Section award for years of service and dedication to families and children.
- Current Civic & Professional Activities
- Member of Court’s Executive committee, Member of Court’s Budget Committee, Training Committee, Courthouse Naming Committee, Bench/Bar/ADR Committee, Civil Division Committee and Contra Costa County Domestic Violence Regional Team of AOC 2007 Task Force.
- Continuing Legal Education Faculty
- University of San Francisco School of Law Intensive Advocacy program; California Center for Judicial Education and Research, including classes in Domestic Violence, Family Law and Medical malpractice; California Judges Association; New Judge’s training.
- Important Published Decision(s)
- As a lawyer, she had published cases in informed consent in medical malpractice. As a judge, no published cases to date.
- Recent Publications
- A treatise on Informed Consent, published in the American Journal of Law and Medicine. Other Informed Consent published papers, including in USF publication.
- Courtroom Policies
- Judge Craddick believes hers is a court of equity and that she needs to treat the litigants with dignity and to be somewhat indulgent. She believes she has gotten very good at listening to people who come before her in emotional states. She finds she is less stringent with the rules because most of the litigants are in such an emotional turmoil. Her style tends to be somewhat informal.
She is inclined to overlook technical violations for both the litigants and the attorneys.
She tries to rule from the bench in the short cause matters and takes most long cause matters under submissions.
- This form of communication is encouraged. Judge Craddick likes the informality and likes to be available to do dispute resolution and case management.
- Allows motions by offers of proof - Riefler hearings, with the ability to cross-examine when necessary.
- Judge Craddick likes briefs in long cause cases.
- The judge would like to see more complete discovery made with formal requests so that she can make rulings where there are disputes regarding discovery. She finds it easier to ask for and receive sanctions for failure to comply and believes you know what you are dealing with better if more formal discovery requests have been made and answered.
- Settlement Conferences
- Judge Craddick believes in settling cases for the good of the litigants. However, she is not willing to try to force people into settlements wherein they are not comfortable, especially when she has not seen all the evidence. When it is helpful for a case, she will offer some preliminary decisions on the information and evidence presented to her so that these can be used in settlement discussions. She attempts to promote settlement, rather than cutting it off, and will not hold the parties to a specific timeframe in which to settle during the settlement conference.
- She believes in mediation where it is warranted in a case, however, ADR is not available to family law litigants at this time.
- In Limine Motions
- Judge Craddick occasionally sees these motions and finds they are mostly related to incomplete discovery. She believes most of the motions could be avoided when discovery requests and responses are properly done. (The most significant motions are regarding Rule 12f expert witnesses.)
- Voir Dire
- In general, Judge Craddick allows the attorneys to conduct voir dire on their clients. However, if she feels there is information that is left out or needs to be clarified, she will step in and ask the questions to make certain there are no misunderstandings.
- The judge allows witnesses to testify and finds them helpful in corroborating evidence and testimony in domestic violence cases; she finds this particularly helpful in custody cases.
- Judge Craddick does not like sanctions and reserves them for egregious circumstances.
- Judge Craddick likes premarked exhibits and requests that exhibits be indexed for ease of use.
- Attorneys should be dressed professionally when appearing in this courtroom. The judge does not want attorneys arguing with each other in open court as she believes it sends the wrong message to the pro per litigants. She is more tolerant with attorney arguments in chambers, away from the audience.
- Court Reporters & Translators
- Judge Craddick would like to go on record that she has the best clerk, court reporter and bailiff. She does not use electronic reporting but allows tape recordings of the proceedings. With regard to translators, she would appreciate knowing about the need for one well in advance and likes to keep translated cases spread out rather than bunched into one day.
- Computers in the Courtroom
- Attorneys are encouraged to use their laptops in the courtroom as long as the keyboards are quiet. The judge finds this to be a handy method of keeping trial information and case citations readily available.
- Judge Craddick approves of this method of presenting evidence, when appropriate. She has found it particularly useful in jury cases.
- Cameras in the Courtroom
- Although it has not yet come up, the judge believes it to be a constitutional right to allow the media in the courtroom, including filming of the proceedings. She does not, however, feel it is appropriate for family members to video tape the proceedings for sharing with their family and/or children.
- Judge Craddick’s number one advice tip for the courtroom is to be prepared. She firmly believes that this is the way to be impressive and win your case. She has found, however, that family law attorneys tend to be less likely prepared than attorneys in other areas of the law. She believes being more prepared would serve the attorneys and their clients well.
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