Retiring Judge Holmer credits town for court |

Retiring Judge Holmer credits town for court

When lawyer and “die-hard skier” C. Anders Holmer came to Nevada County for a job in 1974, he fell in love with Truckee, and he stayed.

Since then, the San Francisco Bay Area native has moved from deputy district attorney to municipal court judge, living through the transition of the court becoming a superior court.

The man most people in town know as “Andy” will retire from the bench Nov. 5. But he is satisfied with leaving a court facility that handles the full range of the eastern county’s civil, misdemeanor, juvenile, family, drug and mental health cases.

“It’s really not about me,” Holmer said Tuesday. “I’m a lucky guy with great support.”

That support includes area residents who are willing to serve as jurors, his fellow judges, lawyers and people in county law enforcement who helped build up the services in Truckee between 1991 and 1995 to what is seen today.

Holmer leaves a post that pays nearly $179,000, but expects to continue working as a substitute judge – including in Truckee, until the governor appoints a replacement. Substitute judges earn 92 percent of their salary on a per-day basis, according to California’s Administrative Office of the Courts.

The son of a doctor, Holmer had prepared to study medicine. But he changed his mind, earning a law degree in 1972 and working in the District Attorney’s Office of Santa Clara County.

When Holmer hired on with the Nevada County District Attorney’s office in 1974, Truckee had 1,500 residents. The DA’s office consisted of the district attorney and one other lawyer – John Darlington. Holmer, the new No. 3, routinely commuted between Truckee and Nevada City.

“I was intending to make it just a two-year stay and get on with more serious life in the Bay Area,” Holmer said. But the self-described “outdoors fellow” changed his mind again.

“I came up here and fell in love with the place,” Holmer said.

After losing an election to Darlington for district attorney in 1978, Holmer went into private practice in Truckee and Tahoe City.

He was appointed by Gov. George Deukmejian as a municipal court judge in December 1990.

He and others in the community “found ourselves saying we really need to service our community and have a full court,” he recalled. At the time, the municipal court’s services were limited to traffic tickets, misdemeanors and small claims; everything else had to go to the county seat, close to an hour away.

With state support, the effort to create a full-service court in Truckee led to “a model branch court, where we have taken pretty much every kind of case you would get in the judicial system and handle it up here.” he said.

Now, Truckee has an estimated 17,000 residents, expanding to as many as 40,000 on weekends and holidays.

Interstate 80 brings a wide range of crime into the town, including murders, robberies and drugs. Development of ultra-high-end vacation homes brings people wrangling over multi-million-dollar residences.

Holmer called the mix of cases “fabulous,” adding, “diversity is what keeps you agile.”

Holmer is leaving, “not for burn-out,” but because of a constellation of events that make it time.

With nearly 20 years on the bench and turning 63 on Wednesday, Holmer can retire with close to full benefits. He plans to continue working as a substitute judge in the state system, working half-time, he said.

That would allow more time for another passion: Teaching ethics to other judges.

Holmer has taught at the B.E. Witkin Judicial College of California, operated by the state judiciary to train new judges and to provide continuing education year-round for all judges.

Work for the college is “not paid, but this is something I truly enjoy,” he added.

He also will have more time for family – Laurel, his wife of 21 years, and their children, Erik, 15, and Aly, 16. That includes coaching his son’s junior varsity football team; last year, Holmer coached his son’s Babe Ruth League baseball team.

“Trying to juggle family, coaching and work has been a wonderful challenge,” Holmer said – but he’s ready shift his focus.

To contact City Editor Trina Kleist, e-mail or call (530) 477-4230.

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