Judicial Profile: Department 18
Honorable William Kolin
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- Biographical Information
- Date of Birth:
- April 1, 1948
- Place of Birth:
- Chicago, IL
- Northern Illinois University, B.A., political science, 1970; Dean’s List. Chicago-Kent Law School, J.D. 1974; Dean’s List
- Pre-bench Legal Experience:
- Oakland police officer, 1979-85
- Judicial Experience
- Judge Kolin was appointed to the Contra Costa County Municipal Court by Gov. Pete Wilson in 1994, and appointed to the Superior Court in 1997. His current assignment is in Juvenile Court.
- Pre-bench Civic & Professional Activities
- Officer: Contra Costa Drug Abuse Advisory Board, chair, 1987-90.
Member: Police Officers Research Association Committee, 1980-85.
Award: “Pro Bono Award,” Alameda County, 1977.
- Current Civic & Professional Activities
- Member: California Judges Association, 1994-present.
- Continuing Legal Education Faculty
- Contra Costa County Bar Association: Premises Liability, 1991-92.
California State University-Hayward, Political Science Department, Lecturer, 1995-2002.
JFK University School of Law, Lecturer-Evidence, 2006-present.
- Courtroom Policies
- Judge Kolin does not issue written instructions for attorneys. Counsel should be familiar with the local rules. Generally, Judge Kolin provides a written decision on every motion, case, etc., both to provide the reasoning behind submission and for appellate purposes. There are no juries in juvenile court.
- Judge Kolin allows attorneys to appear by telephone.
- Trial Motions
- All motions must be filed a minimum of two days before trial.
- No limits.
- By statute and local rules.
- Settlement Conferences
- Conferences are generally held in chambers, although they may be conducted elsewhere depending on the number of parties involved and the number of cases pending. Judge Kolin accommodates requests for early conferences, but will not conduct a conference on the day of trial unless the parties stipulate. He will speak with clients about settlement only with consent of counsel.
- Judge Kolin encourages mediation in dependency cases.
- In Limine Motions
- May be oral or written.
- Counsel should submit witness lists at Judge Kolin’s conference with attorneys.
- Judge Kolin imposes sanctions only as a last resort, for egregious disregard of local rules or improper conduct in court.
- Courtesy copies of moving papers/briefs need not be delivered to chambers. Exhibits should be premarked, numerically in order, with a list provided to the clerk. Courtesy copies should go to the opposing counsel, but need not be supplied to Judge Kolin.
- Counsel may generally move around the courtroom and approach witnesses. Beverages are permitted, but within limits and in an orderly fashion. Sidebar conferences should be kept brief.
- Court Reporters & Translators
- The court provides translators or interpreters in all juvenile matters if required.
- Computers in the Courtroom
- Judge Kolin does not receive documents on computer disk. Counsel may use laptop computers at the table.
- The courtroom has a blackboard, chart stand, easel, TV monitor, VCR and overhead projector.
- Cameras in the Courtroom
- News media still and video photography is allowed pursuant to court order.
- Practitioners’ common mistakes: Lack of preparation and/or unfamiliarity with local rules. Pet peeves: Continuing to argue a point after the ruling has been made and delaying proceedings. Tips: Use common sense. To be treated with respect, treat the court with respect. “The most important thing is for lawyers to be honest about ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ in their cases, because an attorney’s reputation is hard to repair if the person hasn’t been forthright.”
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