Public Ethics Commissioner, Chair, 1/22/2014 - 1/21/2017
Sonya Smith is a 10-plus-year Oakland resident, residing in the Santa Fe neighborhood in North Oakland. She is an attorney for the California Commission on Judicial Performance, which is the independent state agency responsible for investigating complaints of judicial misconduct and judicial incapacity and for disciplining judges, pursuant to the California Constitution. Her background includes international work on Rule of Law projects through the American Bar Association and other U.S. Agency for International Development-funded organizations. She served as the director of a Rule of Law project in Yerevan, Armenia between 2006 and 2008 and has also participated in Rule of Law projects in Serbia, The Republic of Georgia, and Ecuador. These projects, in collaboration with local counterparts, worked toward the goal of building strong, independent, and transparent legal and political institutions that engender public trust and confidence. Before serving with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative in Armenia she worked as an attorney for the California Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts. In that capacity, she made policy recommendations and drafted rules of court and legislative proposals relating to the administration of justice and judicial independence. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington and her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.