Judge Maria D. Hernandez was one of three recipients of the Judicial Council’s 2016 Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor given by the state court system’s governing body. Now in its 23rd year, the award honors California judicial branch members for “extraordinary dedication, outstanding leadership, and significant contributions to advancing the council’s strategic goals for the judicial branch.” Judge Hernandez, an Adjunct Professor teaching Juvenile Law, was appointed to the Superior Court of Orange County as a commissioner in 2006 and later a judge by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009. She currently serves as Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court of the Orange County Superior Court. Judge Hernandez’s “personal dedication and extraordinary commitment to advancing and improving the juvenile justice system” are described in a recent news release by the California Courts newsroom. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye presented Judge Hernandez with the award.