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SLO Superior Court commissioner dies at 67

Commissioner Stephen Sefton gives those gathered at Small Claims Court an outline of how the day will proceed during hearings in June at the Veterans Memorial Building in San Luis Obispo.
Commissioner Stephen Sefton gives those gathered at Small Claims Court an outline of how the day will proceed during hearings in June at the Veterans Memorial Building in San Luis Obispo.

Stephen Briggs Sefton, a longtime commissioner at the San Luis Obispo Superior Court, died Saturday, court staff confirmed. He was 67.

A spokesperson for the San Luis Obispo County Coroner’s Office did not respond to The Tribune’s requests for information on the cause of death Monday.

Sefton graduated from Cal Poly and later obtained his juris doctorate from San Joaquin College of Law in Fresno in 1978, according to court staff.

He joined San Luis Obispo Superior Court as a traffic referee in 1998 and became a court commissioner in October 2004. Not a Superior Court judge, Sefton presided over adult and juvenile traffic cases, small claims civil cases and juvenile drug court calendars in the Superior Court’s San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles and Grover Beach branches. The Grover Beach Courthouse closed in 2011.

His generous spirit, compassion and unwavering positive attitude inspired all who knew him and he will be greatly missed.

SLO Superior Court CEO Susan Matherly

On Monday, San Luis Obispo Superior Court CEO Susan Matherly confirmed Sefton’s death in an email statement.

“Commissioner Sefton was a valued colleague and friend to many in our court,” Matherly wrote in the email. “His generous spirit, compassion and unwavering positive attitude inspired all who knew him, and he will be greatly missed.”

She said services had not yet been scheduled.

Sefton’s death leaves San Luis Obispo Superior Court with one remaining commissioner following former Commissioner Gayle Peron’s appointment to a Superior Court judgeship in November. Matherly’s office said staff was meeting Monday to arrange for coverage of Sefton’s various case calendars.

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