Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Randolf Rice has retired from the bench due to disability, the Commission on Judicial Performance confirmed today.
The CJP, which reviews such applications, gave the go-ahead on Rice’s application last week. It became official “sometime yesterday afternoon or this morning,” said Victoria Henley, director of the CJP.
Rice, 60, can “no longer perform any judicial duties,” Henley said. Rice could not be reached for comment.
Rice was a 2001 appointee and one of the first openly gay judges picked by then-Gov. Gray Davis. He applied for disability retirement with the CJP in June. In 2004, after falling from a ladder and striking his head, Rice spent two weeks in an induced coma while doctors operated to reduce brain swelling, according to the Daily Journal. Though the newspaper reported he returned to court in 2005, Presiding Judge Catherine Gallagher said Rice has been absent for some time now; she could not give specific dates.
Gallagher said Rice’s retirement is a “great loss” to the court. It also opens up a potential second seat on the Santa Clara bench for this year’s elections, which take place in June.
With his disability retirement approved, Rice is eligible for special benefits. According to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, judges with disability retirement usually receive the lesser of two options: 65 percent of their average monthly salary over the previous year, or 3.75 percent of the monthly salary multiplied by the number of years they would have worked before becoming eligible to retire.
The monthly salary for a judge is currently $14,304, though a recent pay raise could mean Rice’s average for the past year is less, said Edward Fong, a spokesman for CalPERs.
— Evan Hill