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State of the District and Bartick Award Event

Updated: Feb 22, 2021

On November 12, 2020, the San Diego Chapter and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California hosted the annual State of the District and Bartick Award Event. This year's event was held in the large Jury Assembly Room at the Carter Keep U.S. Courthouse with COVID-19 precautions and limited attendance. The event was also simultaneously broadcasted on Zoom, where an additional approximately 200 people were able to watch it live. The program for the event and the list of retired federal attorneys mentioned during the event can be found here. An outline of the presentation is included below.

The San Diego Chapter thanks Dylan Aste, Mary Cile Glover-Rogers, and Blake Currey for their help organizing this event.

I. Introduction (00:00-07:15)

San Diego Chapter President David Finn shared that:

  • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chapter put on 18 educational programs with over 6,000 attendees and 31 judicial speakers in 2020.

  • Past Chapter Presidents Joe Leventhal and Michelle Petitt are creating an award that honors the legacy of Peter Mazza, who passed away earlier this year. Donations to this charitable fund can be made at

  • Peter Mazza received the FBA's Robyn J. Spalter Outstanding Achievement Award, the Chapter received the Presidential Achievement Award, and Dylan M. Aste received the Younger Federal Lawyer Award.

II. Lawyer Representatives (07:15-10:45)

Co-Chair of the Lawyer Representatives for the Southern District, Janet Dean Gertz, reported that:

  • Because the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference was cancelled this year, the Southern District determined the current Lawyer Representatives will remain in their positions for another year to allow them to participate in a Judicial Conference.

  • The Ninth Circuit is cautiously optimistic that the Judicial Conference will go forward in 2021. Therefore, new Lawyer Representatives will likely be selected next fall.

III. State of the District Report (11:00-37:25)

Chief District Judge Larry A. Burns provided various updates regarding the Southern District, including that:

  • The Southern District, unlike other courts, never shut its doors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, the Court adopted COVID-19 protocols and converted many of its proceedings to videoconference proceedings, including preliminary hearings in criminal cases, motion hearings, and most civil settlement conferences.

  • Since March 2020, the Court has conducted 2,618 videoconference sessions, in contrast to just over 55 sessions in all of 2019.

  • The Court has completed ten jury trials since August 2020 after incorporating CDC guidelines and recommendations from medical professionals who toured the Court's facilities.

  • Congress has approved funding for building out two more courtrooms in the Carter Keep U.S. Courthouse.

  • Renowned courtroom illustrator Bill Robles has completed a new addition to the Southern District's Portraits of Justice Art Project, an illustration of the Court's seventeen District Judges.

  • Several federal attorneys who practiced in the Southern District for many years--Robert Ciaffa, James Fife, Phillip Halpern, Sherri Hobson, and Michael Stein--retired in 2020.

IV. Magistrate Judges Update (37:45-49:30)

Presiding Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo shared that:

  • In the first two-and-a-half months of 2020, the Magistrate Judges authorized over 2,300 felony and misdemeanor complaints. That number shrank to a rate of about 360 complaints per month for the rest of the year.

  • The Magistrate Judges received a significant increase in requests for search warrants. So far this year, the Magistrate Judges have authorized over 2,502 search and tracking warrants, a significant increase from a total of 1,844 in 2019.

  • After the Court suspended its processing of Central Violations Bureau (CVB) tickets due to COVID-19, Magistrate Judge Allison H. Goddard is now working through the CVB backlog.

V. Bankruptcy Court Update (49:45-54:45)

Chief Bankruptcy Judge Margaret M. Mann reported that:

  • Michael Williams took over as Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court after Barry Lander retired.

  • Bankruptcy Judge Louise D. Adler is a board member of the International Insolvency Institute, Bankruptcy Judge Laura S. Taylor is the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit's Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, and Bankruptcy Judge Christopher B. Latham is on the Ninth Circuit's Committee on Security on Safety.

VI. Hon. David H. Bartick Award for Civility & Professionalism (55:00-1:19:30)

Chief Judge Burns presented the Hon. David H. Bartick Award for Civility and Professionalism to the 2020 recipients:

  • In Memory of Peter J. Mazza. Megan Mazza accepted the award on Peter's behalf and shared remarks.

  • In Memory of Bruce C. Smith. Leslie Smith accepted the award on Bruce's behalf with accompanying remarks.

  • Charles H. Adair. Mr. Adair provided remarks upon accepting the award.


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