New judge ‘shy,’ a calming influence |

New judge ‘shy,’ a calming influence

People who have known or worked with new Judge Candace S. Heidelberger for many years described her as “shy and humble,” “bright,” a calming influence in the courtroom and having an outstanding work ethic as she awaited swearing-in during a ceremony on the courthouse steps Friday afternoon.

“I thank you all, in advance, for the help you will give me in the future,” Heidelberger said after retired Judge John Darlington had her recite the oath of office and her husband, Bill Heidelberger, draped her with the black robe he held in his lap during the ceremony.

“People have said to me in recent weeks, ‘Your honor,'” Heidelberger said. “It is my honor to serve the people of Nevada County.”

Heidelberger’s installation fills out the six-judge bench for Nevada County Superior Court, ending a stressful 10 months between the retirement of Judge Albert Dover and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appointment of the 53-year-old Nevada City resident in October.

Judge Julie McManus expressed relief at Heidelberger’s appointment. McManus knew Heidelberger from the days when they both appeared in court to resolve issues of children’s dependency while the parents were divorcing – McManus representing children and Heidelberger often representing parents, McManus said.

The retirement in quick succession of judges Dover, Darlington, Carl F. Bryan II and Ersel Edwards in just two years has left the newer members of the bench without their mentors, and the governor’s tardy appointment left them unable to make long-term decisions, McManus bemoaned.

Heidelberger’s appointment restores the court’s ability to move forward, McManus added.

New to the bench are appointed judges McManus and Sean Dowling (now presiding judge) and Court Commissioner B. Scott Thomsen, and elected Judge Thomas Anderson.

Dowling, Darlington and others praised the new appointee’s knowledge of the law, especially in the area of family law.

Darlington met Heidelberger when he started running with her husband and she was a legal secretary (early in her career, she had worked with Dowling). Though she worked full time and had four children to raise, Heidelberger attended Lincoln Law School in Sacramento at night for four years.

She was at the top of her class in her first year and ended her studies as class valedictorian, Darlington said.

“I don’t know how she did it,” Darlington added.

Associate Justice M. Kathleen Butz of the Third District Court of Appeals, formerly of Nevada County Superior Court, attended the ceremony along with sitting and retired judges from Nevada, Placer and Sierra counties, three of Heidelberger’s children, her sister and about 80 well-wishers.

Most of Heidelberger’s cases lately have been in Placer County court, where judges said they were sorry to see her go.

As a Nevada County Superior Court judge, she will earn a state salary of $171,648.


To contact City Editor Trina Kleist, e-mail or call 477-4230.

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