Judicial Profile: Department 10
Honorable Lois Haight
- Biographical Information
- Date of Birth:
- December 6, 1939
- Place of Birth:
- Seattle, Washington
- University of California — Davis, A.B. 1961. Hastings College of Law, J.D./LL.B. 1965; Moot Court Competition Winner
- Pre-bench Legal Experience & Areas of Practice:
- White House Conference for Drug Free American, Chair, 1987-88. Assistant Attorney General of the United States, 1983-86. President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime, Chair, 1981-82. Alameda County Deputy District Attorney, 1976-81. Private General Practice, Walnut Creek, 1967-75. San Francisco Juvenile Hall Counselor, 1963-65. San Joaquin County Probation Officer, 1962
- Political Affiliation:
- Judicial Experience
- Judge Haight was appointed to Contra Costa County Superior Court by Governor Pete Wilson in 1993. Her current term ends in 2006. Her current primary assignment is the Juvenile Department, Supervising Judge.
- Pre-Bench Civic and Professional Activitie
Officer: National Crime Prevention Coalition, Chair, 1983-87. Attorney General’s Task Force on Family Violence, Creator and Coordinator, 1984.
Special Correspondent: President’s National Correspondent to the United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, 1983-89.
U.S. Delegate to four United Nations Conferences, 1986-88.
Prior Boards: Quest International, 1991-93. U.S.O. International, 1987-93. Crime Stoppers International, 1983-89. National Sheriff’s Association Standards, Ethics and Education Committee, 1984-89. National Institute of Corrections, 1983-87. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Rape Prevention and Control, 1983-86. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, 1983-88. California Consortium for Prevention of Child Abuse, 1992-93. California Judicial Counsel, 1994-98. Commission on Judicial Performance, 1995-99. Commission on the Future of California Courts, 1992. 20/20 Commission, 1992.
Recent Awards (1985-2002):
2002 Jurist of the Year (awarded by the Judicial Council)
“Special Award,” U.S. Department of Justice
“Presidential Commendation,” American Psychological Association
“Women’s History Week Award,” U.S. Department of Defense
“John Heinz Award,” National Organization of Victims Assistance
“Secretary’s Commendations,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
“Award of Special Honor,” International Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association
- Current Civic and Professional Activities
Boards: Federalist Society, 1990-present. National Organization of Victims Assistance, 1989-present.
Member: ABA Criminal Justice Section Victims Committee, 1990-present; Corrections and Sentencing Committee, 1990-present. Contra Costa County Executive Policy Forum, 1995-present. National Council Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 1994-present. Advisory Council, Lead Mentoring Program, 1997-present.
- Continuing Legal Education Faculty
- Guest Lecturer, 1985-2002: National Judicial College, Institute for United States Studies (London, England), California Judicial College, Harvard University, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Princeton University, California State University (Hayward), Hastings College of the Law, National Juvenile Judicial College, Pepperdine College of the Law, University of San Francisco, John F. Kennedy University.
- Recent Publications
- “What’s Wrong with this Story,” Today: The National Counsel of Judicial and Family California Judges, 2002 (published speech).
- “The Future of Leadership,” 2001: The Next Generation in Victim Assistance, 1994.
- “Playing Catch-up for Our Leniency,” The Washington Times, September 2, 1988.
- “Drugs Were Wrong in the ‘70’s Too,” The Washington Post, June 18, 1988.
- “Family Violence: Mistaken Beliefs About the Crime,” Crime and Punishment in Modern America, August 1988.
- “Victims of Crime,” South Texas Law Journal, Spring 1984.
- “What Government Can Do,” The Judges Journal, Spring 1984.
- Courtroom Policies
- Judge Haight does not issue written instructions for attorneys. Generally, she rules from the bench.
- In Limine Motions
- Judge Haight waives time restrictions for in limine motions if good cause is shown. Attorneys’ most common mistake: Bringing motions not carefully considered and thus often inappropriate.
- Briefs should be carefully researched and succinct. Pet peeve: Overly long briefs with improper citations.
- Settlement Conferences
- Judge Haight encourages settlement conferences, which she personally conducts. Conferences are usually held in chambers. Judge Haight accommodates requests for early conferences, and will conduct a conference on the day of the trial if necessary. She will not speak with clients about settlement.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Mediation in dependency to occur before jurisdictional hearings by juvenile lawyers/mediators. VORP (Victim/Offender Mediation Program) mediation in delinquency arranged in appropriate cases.
- Judge Haight imposes sanctions only as a last resort, when there is egregious abuse of professional responsibility or abuse of the court.
- Courtesy copies of moving papers/briefs should be delivered to parties. Exhibits should be pre-marked, with a list provided to the clerk.
Counsel may remain at the table. Counsel may approach witnesses with court permission. Only water is permitted at the table.
Sidebar conferences, if short, can be held at the sidebar; otherwise, they are conducted in chambers. Judge Haight will put the conference on record if appropriate.
Attorneys should wear business attire.
- Court Reporters in the Courtroom
- The court always provides translators or interpreters for minors and/or parents.
- Computers in the Courtroom
- Judge Haight does not receive documents on computer disk. Counsel may use a quiet laptop at the table.
- The courtroom has a blackboard, chart stand, easel, TV monitor and VCR.
- Cameras in the Courtroom
- No photography allowed (except adoptions).
- Practitioners’ most common mistakes: Lack of preparation and courtesy, tardiness. Judge Haight is especially committed to protecting the interests of children.