Cited on numerous occasions for his work in the areas of both social reform and civic philanthropy, Judge James P. Gray currently presides over the civil trial calendar for the Superior Court of Orange County.
Judge Gray was appointed to the Santa Ana Municipal Court in 1983 by Governor George Deukmejian, and in 1989, Deukmejian elevated Gray to his post with the Superior Court.
Throughout his 29-year career within the legal and judicial community, Jim Gray has not only donated hundreds of hours of volunteer time to existing community service-oriented activities, he also has created and implemented a number of innovative programs of his own, each one a success story in itself.
For instance, it was Jim Gray who introduced Orange County to the Peer Court System, where juvenile defendants travel to a school outside their district to have their actual cases tried by other teenagers.
Gray, who also has worked closely with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, helped form a MADDDUI panel in 1987 whereby defendants were made to listen as victims of drunk driving told their heartbreaking stories. This program is ongoing and has been recognized as one of the most effective within the MADD organization and the court system. Along these lines, as a member of the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Program’s Drinking Driving Program Advisory Committee, he recommended treatment programs to combat the DUI problem. To that end, he helped establish a program whereby youthful offenders of drunk driving laws were sentenced to visit the Western Medical Trauma Center. Still today, these youngsters are made to witness the devastating injuries of drunk driving victims. This program is also cosponsored by the Volunteer Center of Orange County, where Gray has served as a board member.
Other such related efforts include his work as a co-founder of “Drive Alive” — along with the Orange County Health Care Agency and MADD — a promotional publicity campaign for students who were invited to compete in writing Public Service Announcements to deter their fellow teens from drunk driving. Students, who win prizes for their efforts, also produced bumper stickers and other promotional materials aimed at the same theme.
Other civic contributions include his work with the “Stay In School” program at both Willard Intermediate and Santa Ana High Schools. Not long ago, Gray was also lauded for his contributions as a co-founder of BLAST (Bert Bylevens Leagues, After School Time) — a program providing children with after school athletics and recreation through the Garden Grove School District, the Garden Grove Police Department, the Orange County Probation Department, and the ministry of the Crystal Cathedral.
Other organizations Judge Gray has helped to found include: the Association of Former U.S. Attorneys, which is a group that meets yearly to share ideas and present keynote speakers; and the William P. Gray / Legion Lex Inn of Court in conjunction with USC Law School, which was founded to increase ethics, education, and professionalism for judges and lawyers.