Hon. Glenn Kim – Transcript
Louis Goodman 00:05
In collaboration with the Alameda County Bar Association, this is Love Thy Lawyer, where we talk with members of the ACBA about their lives and legal careers. I’m Louis Goodman, a host of the LTL podcast, and yes, I’m a member of the Alameda County Bar Association.
Serving on the Contra Costa County Superior Court since January of 2022, Judge Glenn Kim takes two decades of courtroom experience to the bench. Born in Korea, his family moved to Los Angeles when he was three years old. As an Alameda County Deputy District Attorney, Judge Kim handled thousands of criminal cases and tried numerous felony and misdemeanor matters to jury verdict.
A colleague of mine recently appeared in front of Judge Kim and reported that the judge treated him perfectly and found him to be caring and kind. Judge Glenn Kim, welcome to the Alameda County Bar Association and the Love Thy Lawyer Podcast.
Hon. Glenn Kim 01:15
Thank you, Lou. It’s great being.
Louis Goodman 01:18
Where are you speaking to us from right now?
Hon. Glenn Kim 01:21
I’m actually in my chambers in the middle of victim and jury.
Louis Goodman 01:24
And for those of you who are listening on the podcast and not on the Zoom call, I want you to know that there is a beautiful array of real legal books behind Judge Kim and a wood-paneled office. It really looks like a judge’s chambers. How long have you been on the bench?
Hon. Glenn Kim 01:44
You know, I got appointed in November of 2021, and then I got sworn in on January 10th of 2022 this year. So it’s been approximately 10 months.
Louis Goodman 01:55
Where are you from originally?
Hon. Glenn Kim 01:58
You know, I was born in Korea, like you mentioned. However, I was raised in LA, Koreatown.
Louis Goodman 02:04
Where’d you go to high school, in Los Angeles?
Hon. Glenn Kim 02:07
No, I got bused to a magnet school in Van Nuys, where it was a little bit of a trek. It took about 40 minutes bus ride every day, but it was a great school.
Louis Goodman 02:16
What sort of things did you participate in high school?
Hon. Glenn Kim 02:19
You know, I was in the Cadet Corps in junior high, and then I began, I joined the JROTC, so for most of my junior high, high school career, or high school times. I thought I was gonna go into the army straight away, but of course it ended up that I got into Berkeley and my parents decided that, oh, you’re going to Cal.
Louis Goodman 02:38
So how was that experience coming from Southern California and then being in the People’s Republic of Berkeley?
Hon. Glenn Kim 02:45
I’ve gotta say it was a culture shock. I think Berkeley, just with all the diversity and you know, all the people, and just knowing that I was away from my parents’ family, and I had to make brand new, you know, friendships and, and get to know a city from beginning to end. It was just a wonderful experience. It was the first time I had been away from my family. Luckily, my older sister actually was a junior in Berkeley at the time, so she sort of showed me the, you know, I loved, you know, Berkeley Golden Bears, it was a wonderful time.
Louis Goodman 03:19
When you graduated from Cal Berkeley you ultimately went to law school. Did you take any time off between the time you graduated from Cal and the time you went to law school, or did you just go straight through?
Hon. Glenn Kim 03:32
No, I took about four years off. I got, yeah, I was hired, as a senior I got hired as an internet sales consultant for an internet company. You know, this was at the height of the bubble. So I got sent and trained in New York and ultimately ended up in their Boston office for a couple, for almost a year.
Louis Goodman 03:54
Well, now that was another big move going from the west coast all the way out to Boston on the east coast. How was that?
Hon. Glenn Kim 04:00
Another shock. I mean, you know, I’m a California boy. So really didn’t have any experience with the snow and whatnot. And that winter they said that it was probably the worst snow season that Boston had. So I remember I had to buy some, you know, long johns and some boots and some gloves, it was quite interesting.
Louis Goodman 04:25
At some point you decided you were gonna go to law school. So I have a two-part question. One is, when did you first start realizing that you really wanted to be a lawyer and that being a lawyer was your career path, and then when did you decide to actually apply to law school? And what prompted that?
Hon. Glenn Kim 04:48
Sure. I think it all goes back to why I went to Boston. So to sort of go back, when I was in New York, I was slated to come back to Santa Clara. My company had an office in Santa Clara, and at that time they were building their Boston office. So I had a cousin who was living in Boston, she had married, had a child, and I remember calling my cousin in Boston. She was living at Groton at the time, and I remember asking her, you know, what do you think about me coming over to Boston? I hadn’t gone to visit her or anything, and I come from a very small family. There’s only six of us cousins. I was the youngest and my cousins Sue, she was the oldest. So, you know, she was elated that she would have family, especially, you know, from her Korean side over in Boston. So she really pushed for this move to happen.
So, you know, I moved to Boston, stayed there for approximately 10 months, and almost hung out with her, her husband, and my little niece for 10 months or so, you know, seeing them very regularly, almost every weekend. The reason I tell you all this is, you know, those three members of my family Sue, her husband and my little baby niece, Christine, they were murdered on 9/11. They were on the second plane that hit the towers.
So, you know, I know that it’s a national tragedy, but it’s very close to my heart and it’s what inspired me. At that time, I had no thoughts of going to law. So that really inspired me to make that decision to say, you know what, I wanna do something I wanna give back to my country. I want to fight terrorists and, you know, at that time my thought process was, you know, maybe join JAG, or I wasn’t going to join the Army at that moment in my life. So I decided I wanted to pursue law school and possibly go into JAG or the federal prosecution. So I knew that there were some, you know, things I had to do first, which was number one, find out, you know, what it takes to get into a law school.
So I started talking to a lot of my friends who were lawyers. I took a bunch of classes at a community college. I was back in LA at this time. This was, you know, 2001, 2002. I decided I’m gonna study, take some classes at the same time. I got a job as a loan officer at a mortgage company, so that was going very well at the same time. And then within two years I had my application. I had taken, you know, the preliminary testing, the LSAT and done fairly well and got into the school of my choice, which was USF School of Law. So it gave me the ability to come back.
Louis Goodman 07:31
It’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around what you’ve just said and from, you know, preparing for this interview. I was aware that that was part of your history, but I don’t know, just hearing you say it is just, I don’t know, it’s just moving, touching, something. Well, I guess I’m wondering if you’ve seen the world differently since then and if it has impacted the way you look at the world and the way you conduct yourself in the world?
Hon. Glenn Kim 08:03
You know, it definitely has. It has because 9/11, so you know, in the public eye, right, people talk about 9/11 just in casual conversation, and especially if I’m there, I hold my tongue because it is such a personal tragedy in my family. I remember Sue’s family being on the news, you know, in front of Congress, doing a lot of interviews, Sue’s husband’s, Peter’s family being, you know, right in the front of things with the media and our Korean side, we cared just as much, but we somewhat internalized it.
And I remember thinking, you know, I wish our side of the story got out there as well. I think as you said it has shaped who I am today because it’s broadened my view now obviously. You know, I went to law school, I was able to clerk for a federal judge and I was a pro se clerk in the pro se department. And you know, I realized at that time, you know, the federal system is a little slow, maybe not for me, right? And then I got a position with the State AGs doing appellate work for my second-year summer. I loved it, but as I was reading these trial transcripts, I knew, you know what? I want to be in the front line.
Louis Goodman 09:22
How did you get into the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office? Obviously, that’s where I know you best from.
Hon. Glenn Kim 09:28
Yes, yes. So I had, after the AGs, I interned at the SF DA’s. After that, I actually was fortunate enough to get hired by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, so worked there for several years and you know, I had met Dan O’Malley. He had, you know, become a friend of mine. I knew at that juncture I was looking for a new job because I didn’t get picked up in the Contra Costa County three-year contract system that they have for new attorneys. So at that time I was looking for a new job. I got an offer from the SF DA’s office, and then after speaking with Dan and you know, being connected, I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity with Alameda County DA’s office. So I eventually landed there.
Louis Goodman 10:17
Can you briefly tell us what your experience in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office was like?
Hon. Glenn Kim 10:23
Sure. You know, Alameda County, I absolutely love that county, especially because, you know, I am a Cal grad. I lived in Oakland for many of my years. As a prosecutor I was assigned to the General Felony Trials Team, the Child Sex Assault Unit. I was a second timer in their trial rotation, second timer, basically meaning you’re primarily doing just homicides. I was in the Felony Domestic Violence Unit there as well and they just handled mostly the domestic violence related violent crimes that are felonies, including domestic violence homicides.
I also worked at the Consumer Worker Fraud Division in their Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit for a while, so all in all, I feel I got some great trial experience while I was a DA over at Alameda.
Louis Goodman 11:11
Now, you’ve obviously had a very successful career as an attorney and now as a judge, if a young person was coming out of college, would you recommend the law as a career choice?
Hon. Glenn Kim 11:22
You know, I think it’s one thing that they should explore. I love the law and I ended up absolutely loving trial work especially, and just being in a courtroom setting. There are so many different aspects of law. You know, there’s transactional, there’s litigation, there’s trial work. You don’t necessarily have to go into, you know, into court in order to be a lawyer. I would tell them start networking as soon as you can, because guess what, your parents, they know a lawyer. You know, and those lawyers, know other lawyers, right?
It’s not just what we watch on tv.
You might wanna be, you know, a prosecutor because you love law and order. However, there’s so, so many different aspects of law. So I think it is a great career choice. Law school is a commitment. You know, not only is it expensive, but it’s a commitment and to really know what type of field and to have an idea of what’s out there, at least before going into law school.
Louis Goodman 12:16
Do you think that having taken several years off between college and law school made you a more focused law student?
Hon. Glenn Kim 12:24
I, you know, I definitely think so. Obviously, I don’t have the experience of going from college straight to law school. But during those three and a half years that I was out there, you know, I had to pay for my own living. I had to pay for all of my expenses. I had to pay for my car, rent, you know, insurance. It makes you grow up, makes you grow up. You have to learn to budget. You can’t just rely on your parents all the time. And obviously you see the real world when they say you are working 60 hours a week. You feel it, you internalize it and you understand what that means.
So I think I went into law school with the mindset that, you know what, I am going to work 40 to 60 hours a week. You know, even though my class load might be very minimal per day, I am going to put in the time and effort, and that was the mindset I had. So in law school, some of my closest friends were the ones that went from college straight to law school and were able to study just as hard.
I know for myself, I would not have been ready for law school if I had just graduated college.
Louis Goodman 13:31
What advice would you have for an attorney who is thinking about a judicial career?
Hon. Glenn Kim 13:37
You know, for attorneys, I wanna, the advice I give to a lot of people is hone your craft.
Know what you do, become an expert in your field. Whatever field that is, become an expert. Build that reputation of excellence and respect.
Louis Goodman 13:53
What was it that prompted you to seek a judicial appointment?
Hon. Glenn Kim 13:58
You know, I think it was it was a lot of things. The one thing I can remember is it was maybe my first or second homicide trial. I remember doing these homicide trials and prepping. Now, you know, one trial might go, but in the background you’re prepping 10 other cases, right? So I was in the jury trial department and it was a young gentleman that I was prosecuting. And looking back there were family from the victim’s side as well as the defendant’s side. And after that hearing, I saw them hug, I saw them shaking hands, you know, and I overheard them basically saying, it’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. You know that I saw the healing that was coming together, and I think at that moment I wanted to take off my advocacy hat and go to the defense family and sort of talk to them about my role as a prosecutor, about why I have to do what I have to do for my job. And I think it was moments like that that started to make me think, I wanna think things from a macro point of view, really start looking at both sides and trying to help our community heal, you know, all together.
So I think that’s when I started to envision myself as a judge and started to talk to other judges and to get advice. And, you know, eventually I was lucky enough to have met so many mentors and whatnot that really supported me and encouraged me to become a judge.
Louis Goodman 15:26
How has being on the bench met or differed your expectations about it?
Hon. Glenn Kim 15:31
You know, Lou, that’s a great question. What I’ll say, and I tell this to people all the time, is the sense of responsibility you get as a judge is palpable. I mean, it is real. I knew that it was going to be a lot of responsibility and you know, that there would be times when I would give se serious thought to the decisions I make. It’s palpable. Every day you feel, you know, every day, you know you’re going to be changing the trajectory of someone’s life, you know, in one way or the other.
So I take that to heart with every decision. It might even just be a request for a continuance so that they don’t miss, you know, a job interview or something at a job training that they need to go to. But you have the power as a judge to really affect the lives of individuals. So I think I didn’t understand it fully as I do now going into the job. So that’s one aspect that I truly have learned to love and respect and really enjoy.
Louis Goodman 16:33
Is there something that you know now that you really wished you’d known before you took the bench?
Hon. Glenn Kim 16:38
Becoming a judge, you don’t lose yourself. You’re not isolated. You know, I was told by so many people that when you become a judge, you forget, you lose your first name, it’s isolating that, you know, you’re by yourself during lunch and you’re in a cubbyhole and people leave you alone. It’s not so, it’s what you make of it, you know that’s what I’ve been telling other people.
I mean, the judges here have been so kind, very kind, very generous with their time. You know, we all understand that we are independent judicial officers. However, the camaraderie amongst judges it’s probably just as close as what I had in terms of my friendships that I built as a DA within the DA’s office.
Louis Goodman 17:21
This is kind of a, I don’t know, two-part question. One is, what mistakes do you see lawyers making and how can lawyers be better prepared to go in front of courts in general, and perhaps you in particular?
Hon. Glenn Kim 17:38
I do a lot of trials. I’ve done, we opened up trials, I think at the end of February, and right now I’m in the middle of my 24th one. When I’m not in trial. I’m doing a lot of PXs. I do unlawful detainers, CHRUs, DVRUs, small claims. So I’m doing a lot of sharing and a lot of, you know, sharing a lot of testimony and questions.
What I would emphasize, I don’t wanna call them mistake, but I think what I see and the advice I try to give people, especially young attorneys, is that trials, it’s fluid, it’s a fluid process. You know, I see too many young attorneys trying to utilize a script and not really paying attention and listening to what a witness has to say. You know, being a trial attorney means knowing how to tell a story through the testimony of your witness or your opponent’s witness, even. And it’s important to listen to exactly what the witness is saying.
And sometimes a witness, you know, they might, might have already answered two or three questions in that script that’s coming up. You know, and sometimes they might not have developed the answer as fully as you wanted it.
I think another, I don’t wanna call it mistake, another piece of advice that I give young attorneys is come and watch. Come and watch more seasoned attorneys do trials. You know, and I don’t mean just for one side to come and watch just their side of closing arguments or their side of opening. I mean talk, you know, process the entire trial from both sides. Meaning if you’re a prosecutor, come and watch the defense, closings every opportunity you get.
Louis Goodman 19:17
Do you think the legal system is fair?
Hon. Glenn Kim 19:19
I love our legal system, and I do believe that we’ve got a lot of safeguards in our legal system, the best system in the world, but it’s made up of human beings. You know, it’s a system of human beings and human beings are imperfect beings, right. So is it a perfect system? No, it’s not. You know, is it a fair system? I would like to say it’s fair. I would like to say that as a fellow, as a judge, I know with conversations with my fellow judges, we really take to heart the decisions that we make. You know, we talk it through, we do our legal research. We really spend the time necessary.
Sometimes justice can take time. You know, you see the appeals process a lot of times, you know, it takes a lot of time for justice and fairness to come through. Ultimately, I do believe it’s a fair system.
Louis Goodman 20:10
I’m gonna shift gears here a little bit. What sort of recreational activities do you and your family do in order to get your mind off of the legal system with you? Get off the bench?
Hon. Glenn Kim 20:22
Yeah. You know, right now I’ve got a nine year old daughter and a six year old son. I absolutely love being a father. I love being a husband to my wife. I love family time. You know, we just came back from camping. We go bike riding, camping, you know, I love taking them to their after school Tae Kwon Do, basketball programs, you know, watching them learn how to swim and just ultimately spending time with them.
Louis Goodman 20:46
What keeps you up at night?
Hon. Glenn Kim 20:48
What keeps me up at night are things that are out of my hand. You know, things that I know are out there that can affect my children in a negative way, that can affect my family, my wife, in a negative way, and what can I do about it? Things like that keep me up at night.
Louis Goodman 21:05
What if you and your wife came into some real money, you know, three or four billion dollars, what, if anything, would you do differently in your life?
Hon. Glenn Kim 21:15
You know, I would get rid of poverty. I’d get rid of poverty. You know, one thing we didn’t talk about was my life growing up in LA. I grew up in a one bedroom apartment with my parents, my grandparents, my sister and I, that’s six people. And I’ll tell you what, this one bedroom was not a big one bedroom. It’s probably more of a junior one bedroom in San Francisco.
And just knowing that there’s so much poverty out there and so many people are working so hard to get out of that and to really be, you know, be a billionaire and be able to help that. You know, I would want to do that because it’s wonderful that we’ve got all these telescopes and we’re getting great images, you know, but when I look down the street, I’m still seeing tents, you know, I’m still seeing children that are going hungry.
And so if I had three, four, make it five, six billion, you know that that’s what I would wanna combat.
Louis Goodman 22:10
Let’s say you had a magic wand. There was one thing in the world that you could change in the legal world or otherwise, what would that be?
Hon. Glenn Kim 22:16
Oh, unlimited resources. I’m talking about unlimited judges, unlimited prosecutors, unlimited defense, you know, unlimited investigations, unlimited interpreters. We just need more of everything.
Louis Goodman 22:29
I’m gonna open this up to some of our participants for questions in just a minute, but before I do that, is there anything that you want to talk about that we haven’t covered that you think is really important that we should say right now?
Hon. Glenn Kim 22:43
You know, all I wanna say is, I wanna thank you, Lou, you know, for what you. I’ve heard your podcast, I think our legal community is a small one, but you know, what you’re doing is you are basically making that effort to make our process into a transparent one. So I think it helps other lawyers to understand the roles of, you know, judges, of prosecutors, of defense attorneys, and all around.
So for what you do, sir, thank you.
Louis Goodman 23:10
Well, you’re very, you’re very welcome and I certainly appreciate all the people who have participated in this program and in the podcast in general.
So with that, let’s start, and I always hate to call on her first, but let’s just start with Judge Dorothy Proudfoot and see if Dorothy has a question or a comment.
Hon. Dorothy Proudfoot 23:29
I suspect you don’t hate calling on me first because you tend to do it a lot. Hello Glenn, it’s so good to see you.
Hon. Glenn Kim 23:36
Hon. Dorothy Proudfoot 23:37
I really appreciated your remarks, and you know, just relating more about your personal background and your thoughts on the law and the position that you occupy. I’m wondering, I have a kind of a multiple-choice question or two-parter. Either can you think of a mistake that you’ve made recently and what did you do about it? Or can you tell me your favorite moment thus far on the bench? Either one.
Hon. Glenn Kim 24:04
Oh, you know, I’ll go with the first. A mistake that I made, I made a mistake in an evidentiary ruling. It was a hearsay objection, and I completely goofed. You know, I think I overruled it when I should have sustained it. You know, what I did was during the next break, we went to the back and I let the both parties know that that was a mistake, that was a ruling that I should not have made. They wanted to come up with any other questions or wanted to go to a different line of questioning. I would allow it.
What ultimately happened was it was such a small little piece of their entire trial strategy, they said, “Don’t worry about it, Judge, we’re moving on.”
I’m gonna answer your second one as well. Right before taking my first hearing, it was about a, it was about three days after I’d been sworn in. They said, “Here’s a bucket of motions. Go do your thing.” All the judges said, “Before you go in there, take a moment, take a deep breath. Enjoy this moment. It’s the first time you’re going to make an appearance. Everyone’s going to rise, and you know, recognize you.” And I said, okay. My clerk calls me in and says, okay, it’s 1:30, we’ll open the court when you’re ready.
So I said, okay, I’ll be right out there. I wait outside the door, take a deep breath, walk in and nobody’s there. It is my clerk, my bailiff, and they’re saying, door is open, nobody’s walked in. I had my bucket, deep breath, and I just had to laugh to myself, you know? So I sat down and properly started the calendar. But I thought, I so much enjoyed that moment, because forever that’ll be ingrained as my real first true moment feeling like a judge.
Louis Goodman 25:46
Stacey Guillory’s question is, have you found it hard to move from being a prosecutor to being a neutral? And do you find the new judges’ trainings to be adequate?
Hon. Glenn Kim 25:57
Yeah. You know, thank you for that question. I think it’s a wonderful question. First of all, I personally didn’t find it too hard to be, to move from a prosecutor to a neutral, and I think that had been because my mindset had started to change. You know, even as a prosecutor, I started thinking about the other side, and I think my reputation has started being built on that, where my opponent’s defense counsel would always be able to come to me with, you know, their points of view, and I would really take it to heart. I play a different role now. I am a neutral, I am a judge, so I understand that role. So, and I take it very seriously. So my prosecution hat has been shredded and thrown away, and I no longer feel as a prosecutor at all.
Now, secondly, with regards to new judges training, we have so many trainings, but they’re spread out. So for me, for my tenure, my first training, official training wasn’t until I think July of this year. I have another training that I’m going to go to in November. Obviously, you learn on the job because you’ve been a sitting judge for five, six months until you actually go to that first training. When you go to those trainings, they are adequate. They are very, very well, you know, put together and you learn a lot of substantive material and you learn just, you know, from other judges about how to judge.
However, there is a lot that we do in the courthouses, especially here in Contra Costa County that aren’t the formal new judges training. So we’ve got mentors. I’ve got two mentor judges here that really took me under their wings to help me, you know, make my decisions and to guide me through the process of basically judging.
You know, there’s an unspoken rule when a judge has a question. You answer that, you know, question. Your fellow judges will get off the bench and help you and, and guide you. So it’s been nothing but wonderful training that our county provides as well as our state provides.
Louis Goodman 28:03
Thank you, Shannon Wolfrum.
Shannon Wolfrum 28:05
Good afternoon. Thank you, Judge Kim, it’s been nice to hear about your background and thank you Mr. Goodman for hosting the program. I was thinking about, I share the same undergrad school as you so Go Bears. Yeah, proud to have gone there. And I’m wondering what did you major in as an undergrad and what influences that had on your life and your career?
Hon. Glenn Kim 28:30
Sure. My undergraduate major was economics. I must say that I also had a minor pursuit, but I didn’t finish it. I think I was shy a few credits of legal studies. Not that I ever thought about going to law school. It was just I really did enjoy the legal classes that were being taught. I think economics sorta helps you to think in a certain way.
Louis Goodman 28:54
Tom Butzbach. I’m wondering if you’ve ever been in front of Judge Kim and if you have any comment or question for the judge.
Tom Butzbach 29:04
Good afternoon, Judge. I just wanna tell you your speech today or your talk today was absolutely remarkable. I’m a little worried to say anything cuz I think I might be appearing front of you in the future, and I don’t wanna jeopardize that.
I can say that when I was in your court, I could not have been more impressed by the way you held the court and that’s what I’m gonna say.
Hon. Glenn Kim 29:29
All right. Thank you very much.
Louis Goodman 29:30
Thanks, Tom. Judge Richard Flyer, are you available to unmute and comment?
Hon. Richard Flyer 29:36
Matter of fact, I am.
Louis Goodman 29:37
There we go.
Hon. Richard Flyer 29:38
See that I’m in my kitchen this time, Louis, rather than doing everything by chat. My computer system cured itself. I guess the question I’d have is, most of your legal experience has been in Alameda County, now you’re in Contra Costa County. How would you compare the two communities? Because there are differences that I noted when I was an attorney and also a judge and I’m just curious how you’ve reacted to those differences.
Hon. Glenn Kim 30:04
I think that’s a great question. I was fortunate enough to have been a DA here for three years before moving on to Alameda County. I think the one difference that hits you off the bat as a practicing lawyer is just the amount of heavy cases, meaning the amount of homicides that, you know, Alameda County has, unfortunately has. It’s just, you know, overwhelming. So obviously that has a trickledown effect because resources are resources and you have to pay attention to these heavy type of cases because there are so many of them, be it homicides and attempt homicides.
So I think as a trial attorney, I loved practicing here in Contra Costa County because we do go out to trials quite a bit and you get a lot of trial experience, but then going to Alameda County and trying all these very heavy homicide cases, I really enjoyed, as a judge, obviously I’ve only practiced as a judge here in Contra Costa County. I can tell you, you know, there are a lot of attorneys that I see from Alameda County who also practice in Contra Costa County.
I think, you know, the level of professionalism and the attorneys that I’ve seen in my courtroom have been very high, and I do appreciate everyone that’s been appearing before me.
Hon. Richard Flyer 31:26
The question I have is I missed the early part of your comments, so I’m apologize for that. The question I had is I know you’re a member of the Contra Costa Inns of Court, and you were a member of the Earl Warren Inns of Court in Alameda. What sorts of differences do you see in those two programs?
Hon. Glenn Kim 31:43
You know, I see wonderful people in both programs. The only difference I see is the venue.
Louis Goodman 31:50
I would also mention that Judge Kim, when he was here in Alameda County, was very active in the Alameda County Bar Association, so thank you for all of your service there. In the meantime, Danielle Gilliland has come back in, and she does have a question or a comment for us. Danielle?
Danielle Gilliland 32:09
Yes. Thank you. Earlier you had spoken about when you were prosecuting cases, I believe in Contra Costa County, and that you had seen the families of both the perpetrator and the victim sort of come together through the process of trial, you know, and of justice and, you know, begin to heal. And my question was, do you have any ideas, you know, because you were a prosecutor for so many years about things we could be doing to promote, you know, healing of any type through, either particularly in the criminal context, but also, you know, in the civil context, helping move parties more towards some kind of solution that everyone benefits from?
Hon. Glenn Kim 32:49
Oh, you know, I think that’s a great, great question. You know, with regards to healing, I’m sort of a huge fan when it comes to just the philosophy of restorative justice. You know, I think it’s going to take our entire community to heal from and to stop crime. But even in the civil context, I think you have to have a buy-in from all participants. You have to have a willingness to be a part of the conversation and to share really what your true innermost wants are. What do you want to get out of this case? Is it respect? Is it money? You know, is it an apology? Why are we here at this juncture? You know, why couldn’t this be settled outside of a court setting?
I think when parties, all parties are willing to come together and to discuss things, I think that’s when we can truly have transformation within a case where dialogue really, really helps. Now obviously if one side, you know, I’ve heard defense attorneys when I was a prosecutor say, I don’t wanna give up my cards. You know, I don’t want to tell you what my defense is because you might weaponize that in court. You might try to, you know, flip it on them. And to me then, you know, the process doesn’t work right. You really have to have transparency. So I would tell those defense attorneys, you know what? Speak to others. I can’t know your point of view until you really, you know, open up and speak to me. And see where we can start with the healing process and to make sure that everyone wants to be involved in that process.
So I think step one is come coming to the table and I’m talking about everyone coming to the table with the willingness to listen and especially if someone’s accused, willingness to listen to the victim and what’s happened.
And if you’re the victim, the willingness to listen to the cues and you know, what got them to where they are in life. So I think it just takes a lot of transparency and willingness.
Danielle Gilliland 34:51
Thank you so much.
Louis Goodman 34:53
Ocean Mottley 34:54
Judge Kim, can you talk a little bit about how you deal with implicit bias? I mean, particularly coming from a prosecutorial background and now you’re sitting on the bench, you know, how do you kind of change the way you think about the people in the process and address your own implicit bias?
Hon. Glenn Kim 35:10
Yeah. You know, these are great questions. I think when it comes to bias, it’s important to be truly introspective. We need to recognize them, be introspective and honest with ourselves, you know, whether it’s explicit, but especially implicit. You know, one technique that I was taught was you flip the script, you know, you change the parties in your mind.
You change the genders, the roles, the nationalities, and be introspective of your views and see if you are biased. And why you are thinking a certain way. And if I believe that I am, then I do everything that I can consciously to make sure that it doesn’t come into play. So that it doesn’t, you know, this bias doesn’t come into my decision making.
Louis Goodman 35:54
Okay. We are almost out of time, but Judge Dorothy Proudfoot has one last question she wants to ask and so go ahead, Dorothy.
Hon. Dorothy Proudfoot 36:04
Thanks, Lou. I think Judge Flyer was trying to start a fight between the Alameda and the Contra Costa Inns. I do know that Judge Kim was an excellent, excellent member of the Earl Warren Inn.
My question pertains to diversity, both on the bench and in the bar. Is it important?
Hon. Glenn Kim 36:23
Oh, you know, I think diversity is so important and especially, you know, with our bar, with our judiciary, it needs to reflect the diversity of our community. I think it all really comes down to, you know, how do you trust a system if it’s not reflective of who we are as a diverse community?
And you know, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, they’re some of the most racially diverse, ethnically diverse counties in the nation. You know, and it’s important to have members of the bar, judges with life experiences, you know, of being poor, immigrant minorities, not just racially but socioeconomically, so that you understand the challenges that these groups face. So I think is very important that the bench and the bar shares diversity with our community.
Louis Goodman 37:16
Cynthia, do you have a question or a comment for Judge Kim?
What is he actively doing right now to, in respect to his last comment of how much diversity is absolutely needed on the bench and the bar? What are you involved in right now to try to make that happen for the communities?
Hon. Glenn Kim 37:37
I’ve started to mentor individuals that want to become judges. I’ve started to reach out to those individuals that I feel would reflect upon our diversity in our community, especially on the bench. So I’ve tried to encourage those individuals to put that little spark of interest in becoming, you know, a member of the judiciary. And there’s been so many people that have helped me, so I try to pay it forward.
You know, I was a part of many, many organizations before becoming a judge. I’ve been speaking at different panels, especially to younger attorneys and to law students, and encouraging them to come and visit in my courtroom just to see what the court process is and to really try to engage them in our system and to show that, look, judges aren’t scary. They are, you know, people of color from different backgrounds. So what I do is I try, just try to be as honest as possible to everyone that wants and shows an interest in becoming a judge.
Louis Goodman 38:40
Judge Glenn Kim, thank you so much for joining us today at the Alameda County Bar Association and the Love Thy Lawyer Podcast. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you.
Hon. Glenn Kim 38:50
It’s been my pleasure as well. Thank you.
Louis Goodman 38:53
That’s it for today’s edition of Love Thy Lawyer in collaboration with the Alameda County Bar Association. Please visit the lovethylawyer.com website where you can find links to all of our episodes. Also, please visit the Alameda County Bar Association Website at ACBAnet.org, where you can find more information about our support of the legal profession, promoting excellence in the legal profession and facilitating equal access to justice.
Special thanks to ACBA president Pamela Ross and Criminal Justice Chair Annie Beles, staff members Cailin Dahlin, Sayeed Randall, Valerie Brown Lescroart and Hadassah Hayashi.
Thanks to Joel Katz for music, Bryan Matheson for technical support, Paul Robert for social media and Tracy Harvey. I’m Louis Goodman.
Hon. Glenn Kim 39:58
So if you just move on script question to script question, you might not be developing it or you might be showing the jury that you’re just going off the script.