Judicial Council hires judge as AOC director
A retired Shasta County jurist
has been named the state's new administrative director of the courts, the first
judge to hold the position.
Judge Steven Jahr, who spent 22
years on the bench before retiring in 2009, was appointed following a unanimous
vote by the Judicial Council at its meeting July 27. He begins his new job Oct.
In a videotaped interview with
reporters, Jahr said he would bring judicial experience to what he described as
“very challenging times,” not only for fiscal reasons. A special committee
recently did an in-depth review of the Administrative Office of Courts, the
staff agency for the Judicial Council, and recommended structural changes to
increase transparency and accountability.
“We have, as you know, some
serious budget issues confronting everyone in the state, the branches of
government and, of course, the judicial branch,” Jahr said. “Simultaneously,
we're doing in the judicial branch a healthy, public self-assessment process
that was initiated by our chief justice.”
Jahr said he looked forward to
being part of the effort to ensure the AOC has the “best and most effective”
direction for providing customer service to the Judicial Council and the
Chief Justice Tani G.
Cantil-Sakauye said she was “enormously pleased” Jahr had accepted the
“The depth of his experience in the judicial branch – as
a trial court judge, as a presiding judge, and as a participant in statewide
judicial branch initiatives – makes him an ideal choice,” she said in a
The fifth administrative
director since the position was created in 1960, Jahr oversaw the consolidation
of Shasta County's municipal and superior courts and operated a felony direct
calendar for several years, a role that gave him sole responsibility for drug
court. He was the court's presiding judge for four years and started the Prop. 36 (Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act) court
calendar, running it during its first years of existence.
In addition to his work with the court, Jahr was a board
member and vice president of the California Judges Association and, just prior
to his retirement, was appointed to serve on the Commission for Impartial
Courts. In 1997, the Judicial Council named him Jurist of the Year. The
following year, he was appointed to the council, chairing its Rules and
Since retiring, Jahr has volunteered his time to a
courthouse project in his county and has served on Judicial Council working
groups. He replaces William C. Vickrey, who
retired last year.