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The seemingly tireless efforts of Superior Court Judge Dean Stout to build a better community have caught the attention of a statewide committee.
Currently the presiding judge of the Inyo County Juvenile Court, Stout has been appointed co-chair for the Judicial Council Advisory Committee on Family and Juvenile Law.
He was named âJuvenile Court Judge of the Yearâ by the Juvenile Court Judges Association in 2006.
Stout is involved in numerous groups and organizations locally, including Inyo Countyâs Foster Care Commission, Childrenâs Service Council, Juvenile Cabinet, Domestic Violence Council, Addictions Task Force, La Causa, the Drug Court Steering Committee and the Bishop Paiute Tribal Court Collaborative Development Group.
Charles James, member of the countyâs Juvenile Justice Commission, said he doesnât think thereâs a group Stout has not reached out to.
The commission in particular has the task of looking at ways of improving the overall conditions of the local juvenile justice system.
âWhen youâre around him, you get this sense that he truly cares about the youth and family of this community,â said James.
Howard Lehwald, chairman of the commission, said heâs known Stout for 22 years and could vouch for him as a âconsummate advocate for youth, families and citizens of this county.â
James said Stout is always encouraging the commission to be proactive in keeping kids out of trouble and the court system, and if a kid does get in trouble, how to integrate them back into the community.
James added, âStout is very even-handed and even-tempered.â
The âTake Me Fishingâ Project for juveniles on probation is one of Stoutâs ideas, James said. James said the judge offers suggestions that can be seen to fruition, âinstead of just throwing a bunch of ideas out there that go no where.â
The job of the Judicial Council Advisory Committee on Family and Juvenile Law is similar to that of the local commission. The committee will try and identify problems within the court system concerning family and juvenile law, then make solution suggestions to the Judicial Council of California. The committee also advises the council on whether to support various pending legislation. The committee will also hear suggestions from the public on how to improve family and juvenile law administration, and it will propose changes to rules, forms and standards to the council.
The committee also oversees the Center for Families, Children and the Courts.
California Chief justice Ronald George said in a press release that Stout was appointed based on his extensive experience with Juvenile and Family Law and continued dedication to improve related procedures, laws and practices.
Stoutâs plate is already full. Aside from being Superior Court Judge since 1997, Stout also sits on many statewide governing boards and panels, including the Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care, the Domestic Violence Practice and Procedure Task Force, the California Tribal Court/State Court Coalition and the 2010 Juvenile Law Institute Working Group.
He has also had the honor of judging the annual Fruitcake Festival in Independence every winter.
Lehwald added that he has witnessed the support and compassion of Stout in dealing with families, week after week, for years. âI am moved by the long-term commitment of Judge Stout to see changed lives and changed families. The judgeâs vision for re-uniting families is working. In many ways Judge Stout is the strong, caring and wise parent many men and women never had.â