Topics: Reforming America's Prison System, Ending Cash Bail and the Case for Humane Incarceration
Today’s edition of Solutions News is focusing on the criminal justice system, some new measures on the ballot in California designed to make it a bit more fair, and taking a look at different models that work wonders in reducing recidivism, incarceration and the costs around prisons. Our guest tonight is the esteemed Judge George Eskin, retired from the California bench in 2013. Judge Eskin has been a long -time advocate for civil rights and prison reform, and among his many accomplishments, Judge Eskin served on the Proposition 47 Executive Steering Committee to the Board of State and Community Corrections, the Judicial Council Pretrial Detention Reform Workgroup, and the California Judges Association Executive Board. Tune in to hear more…
(Produced by Kristy Jansen)
Judge George Eskin was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Following his graduation from Cumberland’s Fort Hill High School, where he was President of the Class of 1955, he attended Swarthmore College, the Carnegie Institute of Technology and graduated from UCLA as a Theatre Arts major in 1960 and the UCLA School of Law in 1965, where he was selected to participate in the Moot Court Honors Program and served as President of the Student Bar Association.
After his admission to the practice of law, Judge Eskin worked in the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, where he was a trial prosecutor for two years (1966-67) and served three years as the Assistant District Attorney. He was engaged in a private law practice between 1971 and 1975, when he was appointed Santa Barbara County Assistant District Attorney, and one year later he became Chief Assistant to Los Angeles City Attorney Burt Pines, supervising the largest municipal prosecution agency in the United States. He guided the establishment of innovative programs for the prosecution of domestic violence, consumer and environmental protection cases.
In February 1981, Judge Eskin resumed the private practice of law in Ventura and Santa Barbara, emphasizing the defense of criminal cases and representing plaintiffs in civil litigation. Certified as a specialist in criminal law, Judge Eskin was honored by the Ventura County Criminal Defense Bar Association in 1990 for his “outstanding contributions” to the criminal justice system, and in 1997, the Criminal Defense Bar Association of Santa Barbara presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also the recipient of the 2002 Ventura County District Attorney Woodruff J. Deem Medal of Justice.
Prior to his appointment to the bench by Governor Gray Davis in 2003, Judge Eskin was a member of the California Commission on Personal Privacy, the California Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE) Commission and the Santa Barbara County Human Services Commission. He served on the Executive Committee of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League and as Chair of its Civil Rights Committee, the Board of the Santa Barbara Jewish Federation and Chair of its Jewish Community Relations Council, and the boards of Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara’s Shelter Services for Women. He is the recipient of the Anti-Defamation League’s 2005 Distinguished Community Service Award. He has been the public address announcer for the UCSB women’s basketball team for the past 27 years.
During his tenure on the bench, Judge Eskin’s primary assignment was a criminal trial department, where he established a Military Veterans Treatment Court Calendar, and he also presided in a civil trial department. He was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to serve four years on the Criminal Law Advisory Committee to the Judicial Council. Santa Barbara Women Lawyers Foundation honored him as its 2012 Founding Father, and he received the 2013 John T. Rickard Judicial Service Award by the Santa Barbara County Bar Association. He retired from the bench in October 2013 and served for one year in the Judicial Council’s Assigned Judges Program in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties.
Judge Eskin then served on the Proposition 47 Executive Steering Committee to the Board of State and Community Corrections, the Judicial Council Pretrial Detention Reform Workgroup, and the California Judges Association Executive Board. He currently maintains a consulting and private mediation practice for dispute resolution in Santa Barbara.
Judge Eskin has been an active contributor to the California High School Mock Trial competition for more than 30 years as a coach, consultant, scorer and presiding judge. He served as a discovery referee in complex civil litigation cases and as a volunteer judge in Santa Barbara’s Teen Court program. He also volunteered as a reader for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic and was the host of a weekly public affairs and jazz program on KCLU-FM, National Public Radio affiliate, and a host of classical music on KDB-FM. A member of SAG/AFTRA, he also produced voice work for both stations.
Judge Eskin is the husband of State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and the father of Meredith Brace, a retired teacher and co-owner of Captain Jack’s, a Santa Barbara tour company; Lucas Eskin, a Santa Monica-based commercial film editor; and, Jennie Ekdahl, a Chicago attorney. He is the grandfather of Northeastern University alumnus basketball player Bolden Brace and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo sophomore Georgia Brace; Muhlenberg University junior Castelle Eskin and high school junior Ethan Eskin of Mar Vista; and, Ellery Ekdahl, age seven, and Anderson Ekdahl, age three, of Chicago.
Judge George Eskin (Ret.), our guest on Aug. 7, 2020