As the foreperson of the 2007-2008 Napa County Grand Jury, Bill liked to say it was the best grand jury ever (“TBGJE”) — a title still proudly remembered by those 19 Napa citizens who served on it. The jury’s final report described investigations into 13 topics, such as farmworker housing and municipal and county fire departments, and received the admiration and respect of many in the county.
A Napa Valley Register headline at the time stated, “Grand jury report takes no prisoners.” In fact, one of these reports won the 2007 CGJA’s Excellence in Reporting Award, while the Napa Valley Register won the CGJA’s 2007 Excellence in Reporting Award for its coverage of the 2007-2008 Napa County Grand Jury. Bill served for a second term as the foreperson of the 2008-2009 Napa County Grand Jury.
Believing in the CGJA mission, Bill joined the Napa County Chapter of the CGJA and became active at the state level. He put his knowledge to work as a trainer of new jurors. His battle with lung cancer notwithstanding, he visited five counties to train jurors this past summer.
He was the editor of the “Grand Jury Law Compendium” and a member of the Legal and Legislative Resources Committee. Bill was an accomplished attorney who used his acumen and leadership skills to build the statewide organization. He also led the battle against AB 622 in 2012, which would have eviscerated the grand jury system.
Bill received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a law degree (LLB) from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). He practiced law for 42 years and provided his expertise to many legal and civic organizations over a most distinguished career.
In Napa, Bill was president of the Silverado Property Owners’ Association; former member of the Napa County General Plan Update Steering Committee; chair of the Silverado Community Services District Advisory Committee; and a member of the Napa County Groundwater Resources Advisory Committee.
He also served as past president of the Oakland Museum Association, the Boalt Hall Alumni Association, and the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco.
We are so lucky to have known this impressive man and to have joined with him to make Napa and California a better community.
The CGJA has established a special fund to honor Bill’s service to our community. In lieu of flowers, a contribution can be made to the CGJA, a 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation, at cgja.org/support. Please, mention that your contribution is to go to the William Trautman Memorial Fund.
The Napa Chapter and CGJA are planning to host an event in May 2014 to honor Bill. More information will follow shortly.
The Napa Chapter of CGJA is dedicated to promoting grand jury awareness, education and outreach. For information, contact President Diane Damé Shepp at firstname.lastname@example.org (NapaChapter-CGJA.org).
Shepp is president of the Napa County Chapter of the California Grand Jurors’ Association