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Justice On Yosemite Time


— October 1, 2007

JUDGE TRADES S.J. APPEALS COURT FOR BENCH AT NATIONAL PARK

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK – From behind his redwood desk, U.S. Magistrate Judge William Wunderlich has to crane his neck just slightly to gaze up at Yosemite Falls.

Wunderlich’s corner office is in a tiny, slate-gray courthouse, just off the beaten path from Yosemite Village. His “commute” is typically a five-minute stroll down a dirt trail, past the Bear Management Office and horse stables to a cabin nestled across from a deer-infested meadow.

The 60-year-old Wunderlich knows he may just have the best judge job in America.

“Someone is willing to pay me a salary to live and work in a national park,” Wunderlich says. “Sometimes I have to pinch myself.”

Nearly four years ago, Wunderlich left a prestigious job as a state appeals court justice in San Jose to become the federal magistrate judge in Yosemite, where bears and bobcats are known to roam outside the courthouse. Only Yellowstone National Park has a similar judicial job in the U.S. court system, and legend has it that the magistrates at the two parks in years past have argued over gin and tonics about who has the better view from his office window.

Details here from the San Jose Mercury News. (Hat tip to Above the Law.)


JUDGE TRADES S.J. APPEALS COURT FOR BENCH AT NATIONAL PARK

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK – From behind his redwood desk, U.S. Magistrate Judge William Wunderlich has to crane his neck just slightly to gaze up at Yosemite Falls.

Wunderlich’s corner office is in a tiny, slate-gray courthouse, just off the beaten path from Yosemite Village. His “commute” is typically a five-minute stroll down a dirt trail, past the Bear Management Office and horse stables to a cabin nestled across from a deer-infested meadow.

The 60-year-old Wunderlich knows he may just have the best judge job in America.

“Someone is willing to pay me a salary to live and work in a national park,” Wunderlich says. “Sometimes I have to pinch myself.”

Nearly four years ago, Wunderlich left a prestigious job as a state appeals court justice in San Jose to become the federal magistrate judge in Yosemite, where bears and bobcats are known to roam outside the courthouse. Only Yellowstone National Park has a similar judicial job in the U.S. court system, and legend has it that the magistrates at the two parks in years past have argued over gin and tonics about who has the better view from his office window.

Details here from the San Jose Mercury News. (Hat tip to Above the Law.)

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