On November 18, 2004, Judge Leonard P. Edwards of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County received the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. The award is presented annually by the National Center for State Courts to a state court judge who exemplifies the highest level of judicial excellence, integrity, fairness, and professional ethics. Judge Edwards is the first juvenile court judge to receive the award.
Through Judge Edwards’s efforts, the Santa Clara County juvenile dependency court was designated a national model by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. This court is one of the most visited in the country: hundreds of legal professionals travel there to observe and learn the model practices that Judge Edwards has implemented, such as dependency court mediation, family group confer¬encing, direct calendaring, and court coordination. In 1999, Judge Edwards established one of the country’s first dependency drug treatment courts, which has been named a Mentor Court by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.