January 20, 1946 — October 31, 2020
Resident of Walnut Creek, CA
Judge Peggy Fulton Hora, a retired California Superior Court Judge, died unexpectedly on October 31, 2020. She was 74 years old. Known for her quick wit and encyclopedic mind, she was an avid reader and movie buff who didn’t own a television for over 30 years. She enjoyed the symphony, ballet, and fine dining. Two sons — Paul (Jamie) Hora of Danville and Erik (Linda) Hora of Alamo — survive her; Tim Spangler of Manteca predeceased her. Known to her eight grandchildren, Dillon, Kyle, Madison, Nathan, Kevin, Emily, Tommy, and Joseph, as “’Venture Grandma,” she traveled with them all over the world and sent hundreds of postcards from over 61 countries.
Judge Hora was born in Oakland and reared in Castro Valley. She graduated from Castro Valley High School, Chabot College, California State University, Hayward, and the University of San Francisco School of Law. Elected to the bench in 1984, she was the first woman judge in Southern Alameda County. She was recognized as an innovator and founder of the drug treatment court movement. Judge Hora lectured nationally and internationally and wrote extensively on substance abuse issues, pregnant and parenting women, drug treatment courts, and therapeutic jurisprudence. She was cited over 100 times by the appellate court and various journals.
She was elected to the trial bench in 1984 and retired after serving 21 years. She had a criminal assignment that included presiding over the Hayward Drug Treatment Court. She returned to sit on assignments in 2008 and especially enjoyed presiding over the drug, domestic violence, and mental health courts. Speaking of her work as a drug treatment court judge, she said, “Few callings compare with the opportunity to leave a legacy that enhances the community, strengthens the criminal justice system, mends families, and restores individuals. ”She was the dean of the B.E. Witkin Judicial College of California and was on the faculty of the National Judicial College for over fifteen years. She was the 2004 recipient of the Bernard S. Jefferson Judicial Education Award from the California Judges’ Association. In 2008, she was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame of Alameda County.
Judge Hora loved to travel and was known throughout the world for her drug court work. She helped courts in Chile, Israel, New Zealand, Great Britain, and Australia. She served as the 2009-2010 Adelaide Thinker in Residence, the first in the field of law. She was appointed by the Premier of South Australia, and her report, “Smart Justice,” was distributed internationally.
Never one to sit still for long, in 2015, Peggy, along with Brian MacKenzie and David Wallace, founded the Justice Speakers Institute (JSI). JSI has become a leader in the education of Justice System leaders worldwide. Its founders and associates are internationally recognized experts with decades of experience and mastery of more than 300 subjects impacting the justice system. Among her many accomplishments, as president of JSI, Peggy coedited the Science Benchbook for Judges, published by the National Judicial College.
A lawyer who asked her to perform his daughter’s wedding said of her, “Those of you who know Judge Hora see her as a fine jurist, but she is also the kind of professional I hoped my daughter would emulate. Judge Hora was not the first choice to preside over my daughter’s wedding. Or even my second or third choice. I first considered Eleanor Roosevelt but rejected her, as she is both deceased and not licensed in California. I then thought of Dorothy Parker, but she, too, is no longer with us, and she might not have shown up sober. Finally, I thought of Hillary Rodham Clinton, but I wasn’t sure she would receive the kind of unanimous reception my daughter deserves at her wedding. So I arrived at Peggy Hora’s name, a woman I equally admire and who combines the strength and compassion of Mrs. Roosevelt, the wit of Ms. Parker and the independence and vision of Sen. Clinton.”
Although no memorial is currently planned, the information will be available, and remembrances may be added online at MyKeeper.com.