Bill Text: CA ACR9 | 2021-2022 | Regular Session | Introduced

Bill Title: Dr. Charles James Ogletree, Jr. Courthouse.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-01-28 - Referred to Com. on JUD. [ACR9 Detail]

Download: California-2021-ACR9-Introduced.html


Assembly Concurrent Resolution
No. 9

Introduced by Assembly Member Gray

January 11, 2021

Relative to the Dr. Charles James Ogletree, Jr. Courthouse.


ACR 9, as introduced, Gray. Dr. Charles James Ogletree, Jr. Courthouse.
This measure would rename the Superior Courthouse of California, Merced to the Dr. Charles James Ogletree, Jr. Courthouse Superior Court of California.
Fiscal Committee: YES  

WHEREAS, Dr. Charles James Ogletree, Jr. is a beloved native son of the City of Merced and the State of California, whose pioneering contributions in the areas of law, civil rights, and education have earned him the respect and admiration of his family, friends, colleagues, and the countless individuals whose lives he touched; and
WHEREAS, Born on December 31, 1952, in Merced to Willie Mae Ogletree and Charles Ogletree Sr., Dr. Ogletree grew up in a migrant worker community and began working in the fields at a young age, and while he excelled in high school, he also witnessed firsthand the challenges of African Americans facing prejudice and injustice; and
WHEREAS, Following his graduation in 1970, Dr. Ogletree enrolled at Stanford University, where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Political Science, became active in the burgeoning civil rights movement, and met Pamela Barnes, whom he married in 1975, and when he was accepted into Harvard Law School that same year, the newlyweds moved to Massachusetts; and
WHEREAS, After earning his Juris Doctor in 1978, Dr. Ogletree joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and moved to Washington, D.C., with Pamela and their son, Charles Ogletree III, and the young family was soon blessed with the birth of their daughter, Rashida, in 1979; and
WHEREAS, Known for his cool, collected demeanor and formidable courtroom presence, Dr. Ogletree excelled as a public defender and was named director of staff training in 1982 until 1985, when he became a partner in the Washington law firm of Jessamy, Fort, & Ogletree while concurrently serving as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School; and
WHEREAS, In 1986, Dr. Ogletree became founding director of Harvard’s Introduction to Trial Advocacy workshops, a program he created to inject a more clinical, hands-on approach into the curriculum, and in 1990 he founded the school’s Criminal Justice Institute, a program that engaged low-income communities in Boston and included a Saturday school so African-American students could learn from seasoned professionals; and
WHEREAS, Routinely taking on controversial cases that risked his job and career including representing Anita Hill during Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearings to the United States Supreme Court and seeking reparations for the survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race riots, Dr. Ogletree demonstrated through both his words and his actions his commitment to civil rights, social justice, and equality for all; and
WHEREAS, Named the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law in 1998 and Vice Dean for Clinical Programs in 2003, and as founding Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice in 2004, Dr. Ogletree inspired generations of students throughout his teaching career, including former President of the United States and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama; and
WHEREAS, Well known as a frequently published legal scholar and strong advocate for racial justice, Dr. Ogletree became a sought-after expert and commentator on national television news programs, and in 2002, his stellar work was recognized by The National Law Journal, which named him one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America; and
WHEREAS, Determined to improve the educational opportunities for underserved and underrepresented students, Dr. Ogletree established a college scholarship fund for students in his hometown of Merced, California, and served as a founding member of the Benjamin Banneker Charter Public School in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and
WHEREAS, A close friend of the late South African President Nelson Mandela, Dr. Ogletree was honored to receive the Nelson Mandela Service Award from the National Black Law Students Association in 1991, one of the many accolades he was presented with over the course of his career; and
WHEREAS, Limitless in his vision and capacity to excel, Dr. Ogletree’s life and career demonstrate how his humble beginnings informed the passions and principles of a man who proved to be on the right side of history even as it was being created around him; and
WHEREAS, The Judicial Council’s Courthouse Naming Policy permits courthouses to be named only after either their physical location or in honor of a deceased person; and
WHEREAS, Public awareness of the overpolicing of predominantly Black and Brown communities and the disproportionate use of excessive and deadly force against these communities has led to a national discussion on how to address these longstanding disparities; and
WHEREAS, Disproportionate sentencing against minority communities, and in particular Black men, is well documented; and
WHEREAS, Conducting judicial proceedings in a courthouse named for a prominent black man whose contributions to the legal profession and our national conversation about race have grown ever more pertinent will serve as a reminder of the inequalities the judicial system has helped perpetuate; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That The Superior Court of California, Merced Courthouse is hereby renamed the Dr. Charles James Ogletree, Jr. Courthouse Superior Court of California.