408. Bias and Judicial Misconduct

DATE: Saturday, July 22, 2017      TIME: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
LOCATION: USPTO, 1st floor, California Room

California Commission on Judicial Performance Members Nanci Nishimura and Judge Erica Yew will discuss judicial misconduct, particularly from the perspective of an attorney who may be subject to bias or bad judicial demeanor. What can you do as an attorney?  Are complaints confidential?  How severely should judges be disciplined?  How can you find out if a judge in your jurisdiction has been disciplined?  This interactive session will strive to answer all your questions.

No CLE credit will be provided for this panel.


Principal, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP

Nanci Nishimura

Nanci Nishimura.jpeg

Nanci E. Nishimura is a Principal at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP where she practices civil litigation focusing on antitrust, business litigation and consumer class actions. Ms. Nishimura received a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California. Following a career in the United States and Japan as a business development and marketing consultant, she received her J.D. from the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. She worked at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the International Trade Commission and served as a Legislative Analyst to Senator Daniel Inouye.

Ms. Nishimura's experience in civil and criminal appellate litigation includes First and Fourth Amendment and civil rights. She wrote the brief on the merits and appeared before the United States Supreme Court in Hanlon v. Berger, 526 U.S. 808 (1999). She co-authored, "An Invasion of Privacy: The Media's Involvement in Law Enforcement Activities," 19 Loy. L.A. Ent. L.J. 313 (1999). Published cases, among others, include Berger v. CNN Inc., 188 F.3d 1155 (9th Cir. 1999); Ayeni v. Mottola, 35 F.3d 680 (2d Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 514 US 1062 (1995), aff'g Ayeni v. CBS Inc., 848 F. Supp. 362 (E.D.N.Y. 1994); Brunette v. Humane Society of Ventura County, 294 F.3d 1205 (9th Cir. 2002); Aquila, Inc. v. Superior Court, 148 Cal. App. 4th 556 (2007); Regents of University of California v. Superior Court, 165 Cal. App. 4th 672 (2008).

She was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the 11 member Commission on Judicial Performance (2011-2015); formerly served on the State Bar Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission (JNE) for the 2005-2008 term; on the Board of Governors and first Vice President for the California Women Lawyers (District 3). She is also a member of the San Mateo and Los Angeles County Bar Associations, Consumer Attorneys of California, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the American Bar Foundation. She is a frequent lecturer for California Women Lawyers, and past member of the LACBA Litigation Section Trial Practice Inn of Court.

Ms. Nishimura is on the Board of Trustees of the California Science Center Foundation, a joint state-private facility to created to promote science education throughout California, and past president of the Board of Directors of The MUSES of the California Science Center Foundation. She is a frequent speaker to promote science and math education in California. In addition, she is on the Board of Trustees of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco; the Rotary Club of San Mateo; and the creator of Storytime for Children with Abby Rabbit, an interactive reading and development program for children.

Judge, Superior Court California in Santa Clara County

Hon. Erica R. Yew

Judge Erica R. Yew has served on the Santa Clara County Superior Court since 2001, where she currently presides over a trial calendar in its Civil Division. Appointed by the California Supreme Court to the Commission on Judicial Performance in 2010, Judge Yew has served as the Commission's chairperson since October 2013. She also serves on the Judicial Council's Advisory Committee on Providing Access and Fairness and the California Commission on Access to Justice. Judge Yew received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law.