Eureka native Stuart Scott, 49, will be sworn in as a Santa Clara County superior court judge on Monday, after winning the June primary election unopposed. Scott was a deputy district attorney in the county for nearly 22 years. – Courtesy of Mary Scott

Having been raised in Eureka near the many river valleys of Humboldt County, Stuart Scott now calls the Silicon Valley home.

On Monday, he will be sworn in as a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge.

Scott, 49, comes from a family of lawyers: His grandfather Jeremiah Scott served as Humboldt County’s district attorney in the 1930s, his father Jeremiah Scott Jr. is still practicing law at the age of 78, and his older brother McGregor Scott served as a U.S. Attorney and now works at a large private firm.

After nearly 22 years of serving as a deputy district attorney in Santa Clara County, Stuart Scott will now step on the other side of the bench to don the black robe and gavel. Approaching 50 years old, Stuart Scott said it was time for a change.

“As a trial attorney, it’s hard to sustain that level of intensity,” he said. “I didn’t want to be 60 and be a criminal defense lawyer, or prosecuting murders and locking up child molesters. Plus, I enjoy the community service aspect of it as well. It’s been a nice career as a deputy DA, and as a judge I get to continue that community service at an even higher level. I think that had a lot to do with it.”

Stuart Scott has specialized in a number of different fields as a deputy district attorney since he began working in the office as a clerk in 1991, starting with traffic trials in San Jose and moving on to higher profile gang crimes when he became a lawyer in 1993. In 2008, Stuart Scott became part of the office’s sexual assault unit, prosecuting child molestation and sexual assault cases. He has been commended for his work with victims and with local police through several awards, some of which he received this year.

The awards, along with the endorsements of several law enforcement organizations and nearly 70 former and current superior court judges, helped him during his campaign for retiring Judge Gilbert Brown’s seat. With Stuart Scott having received Brown’s endorsement, his lone opponent dropped out of the race, ensuring a victory in the June primary.

“I became the first person to run unopposed for an open seat in 45 years in Santa Clara County,” he said. “The fact that we had so much support from everybody … is just overwhelming and humbling, and just a special thing. Really motivates me to try to do the best thing I can and to emulate the great judges I’ve been able the watch over the last 22 years.”

Watching both of their sons lead successful careers in law and their daughter Catherine Scott — superintendent of the Southern Humboldt Unified School District — in education, parents Jeremiah Scott Jr. and Mary Scott are “very proud.”

“Both the boys are attorneys, and I’m a retired school teacher, and our daughter is the superintendent of schools down in Southern Humboldt,” Mary Scott said. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree or some saying like that.”

His parents could tell early on that Stuart Scott would follow the footsteps of his older brother, who later went on to be appointed as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, but his decision to run for judge came as a surprise.

“I thought he’d make a great attorney,” Mary Scott said. “Their dad always said, ‘Right out of law school, go into the DA’s office and learn how to try a case,’ so they did and it worked out beautifully for both of them. … But it’s good, and we’re very proud of him.”

Having watched his son grow from a St. Bernard’s High School football player to a Santa Clara University graduate to a successful attorney, Jeremiah Scott Jr. said he gave this new path his blessing.

“He’s ready, he’s ready,” Jeremiah Scott Jr. said. “He’s ready to be a judge because he spent 22 years in the courtroom.”

Stuart Scott lives with his wife and three children in a more rural area of Santa Clara County — away from the bustling Silicon Valley.

“I don’t think I could have survived in the Silicon Valley, being a small town boy,” he said. “Eureka is still a place that’s close to my heart. I loved Humboldt County. Maybe someday, in 20 years, I’ll retire and work on assignment up there.”

“It was special growing up in Eureka,” he continued. “My grandpa ran for judge twice in Humboldt County, but didn’t win. The thing about my dad is he’s still going at 78. What an incredible legacy that is. … It’s that stepping stone of a legacy my father provided, in being a role model and that he was always really supportive of it. I owe a lot to him.”

Will Houston can be reached at 707-441-0504.

blog comments powered by Disqus