Judicial Profile: Department 34
Honorable George V. Spanos
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- Biographical Information
- B.A. with High Honors, University of Maryland (University College, European Division). J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law; Member of Thurston Society (top 5% of Class) and Order of the Coif; Editorial Associate, Hastings Law Journal
- Pre-bench Legal Experience & Areas of Practice
- Private law practice, primarily civil litigation, with an emphasis on business, real estate, contract and personal injury matters, Walnut Creek, 1982-2001; Associate Counsel, American President Lines, Ltd., Oakland, 1978- 1982. Associate, McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, San Francisco, 1975-1978
- Political Affiliation:
- Democratic Party
- Judicial Experience
- Judge Spanos was appointed to the Contra Costa County Superior Court by Governor Gray Davis in November of 2000 and took the oath of office on January 31, 2001. His current assignment (from January 21, 2014) is in the Civil Division of the Court in Martinez (he previously served in the Juvenile Division of the Court in Martinez from July 2002 to January 2010 and January 2013 through January 20, 2014). His other assignments included service in the branch courts in Richmond (February through December 2001) and Pittsburg (January to July 2002 and January 2011 through December 2012) and Walnut Creek (April and May 2005 and January 2010 to January 2011). His is Department 34 or the court.
- Pre-bench Civic & Professional Activities
- Member, Contra Costa County Bar Association
- Member, Maritime Law Association of the United States
- Member, Adjunct Faculty, Golden Gate University, Maritime Law, Spring 1990
- Judge, 'Judge John R. Brown National Admiralty Law Moot Court Competition’ (San Francisco, c.1999)
- President, Dynamis, A Hellenic Association, 1998-2000
- Member, Robert G. McGrath American Inns of Court, 2001 to 2004
- Judge, California Mock Trial Program, (sponsored by the Contra Costa County Office of Education and the Constitutional Rights Foundation
- Member, Adjunct Faculty (part-time), San Jose City College (Juvenile Justice, Spring 2009)
- Current Civic & Professional Activities
- Member, California Judges Association, 2001 to present
- Member, Contra Costa County Superior Court Committees (specific committees can vary year to year)
- Member, Hellenic Law Society, c. 1985 to present
- Courtroom Policies
Unless Judge Spanos issues a specific order setting another hearing time: in the mornings, all calendars begin at 9:00 a.m. Afternoon matters are called at 1:30 p.m. If, for some reason beyond one's control, counsel is unable to appear on time, he or she must call the court to so advise and give an estimated time of arrival.
If counsel can reasonably anticipate unusual issues, especially including, but not necessarily limited to, evidentiary issues, the court expects counsel to be prepared with relevant points and authorities.
After the first case management statements are filed in a case, updated statements for further case management conferences are not required (but counsel must be prepared to give oral updates and reports).
Please check Judge Spanos’ webpage on the court website for greater detail on Department 34 policies, guidelines and procedures.
- All briefs should be succinct and to the point, citing fully Shepardized authority accurately.
- Settlement Conferences
- Settlement conferences always take place on the date of the Issue Conference and Trial date, often under the settlement mentor program (see Local Rules). Special set settlement conferences can also be calendared at the request of the parties.
- Judge Spanos would prefer never to impose sanctions on attorneys, and has done so rarely and in extremem circumstances (e.g., failure to appear at hearings; discovery non-responsiveness or abuse, and the like).
- Judge Spanos expects counsel to respect the court, each other, and the parties.
- Court Reporters & Translators
- In civil cases, Parties, should they choose, and at their expense, must arrange for court reporters and interpreters.
- Computers in the Courtroom
- Counsel may bring and use computers.
- The use of audio or video equipment is permitted for the presentation of evidence, but arrangements may have to be made in advance. In the absence of exceptional circumstances and a specific court order, courtroom proceedings may not be recorded (video or audio) in any way.
- Cameras in the Courtroom
- Cameras are generally not allowed, but, when a request is made in a timely manner, this issue will be decided pursuant to law and on a case-by-case basis.
- (a) Be prepared.
(b) Never lose your common sense in the courtroom.
(c) Always be accurate in your representations of fact or law to the court (judges virtually never forget counsel who make misrepresentations to the court).
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