Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, August 3, 2001


Page 1


APJ Vogel Discloses Contenders for Court of Appeal Vacancies




Charles S. Vogel, administrative presiding justice of this district’s Court of Appeal, yesterday revealed the names of eight persons who are in contention for appointment to vacancies on his court, including Associate Justice Candace Cooper, under consideration for elevation to the post of Div. Eight presiding justice.

The list includes Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis M. Perluss, who on Wednesday was identified by the Governor’s Office as among four persons being eyed for appointment to the vacancy on the California Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Stanley Mosk.

Also identified by Vogel were Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Gregory Alarcon, Judith Ashmann, Paul Boland, and Laurence D. Rubin, as well as Ventura Superior Court Judge Melinda Johnson and attorney Richard M. Mosk, son of the late Supreme Court justice.

Only the names of Boland and Johnson have appeared in previous published reports. Those jurists’ names were submitted to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation in 1999.

Negative Reviews

Also submitted well over a year ago was the name of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ralph Dau. However, Gov. Gray Davis has reportedly expressed privately a disinclination to appoint Dau, who was named to the Superior Court in 1995 by then-Gov. Pete Wilson and has drawn negative reviews based on temperament.

The Superior Court appointment of Dau, a Democrat, is widely believed to have been pushed through by Charles G. Bakaly Jr., a heavy Republican contributor and Wilson confidant. Both Bakaly and Dau were then members of the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers.

Although the names of the newer contenders have not been reported, it has been learned that Vogel disclosed the names of the potential appointees on May 24 at a meeting of the Chancery Club, a lawyers’ group.

Vogel, who presides over Div. Four, told the MetNews yesterday he received questionnaires from the JNE Commission on each of the prospective appointees other than Johnson.

Six Vacancies

There are currently six vacancies in the district, including four in the legislatively authorized but yet-to-be-formed Div. Eight, which will sit in Los Angeles. There are also vacancies in Div. Five, created by the death of Justice Ramona Godoy Perez on June 6, and Div. Seven, caused by the retirement of Justice Richard Neal on Feb. 9.

JNE Commission chair Pauline Weaver, of the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office, yesterday declined to indicate if there are any potential nominees whom the commission has not yet evaluated. She would only say that the next regular meeting of the commission is scheduled for “the end of October” (and that a special meeting is slated for Sept. 5 to consider applicants for the Supreme Court spot).

The commission rates applicants as “exceptionally well qualified,” “well qualified,” “qualified,” or “not qualified.”

Cooper, 52, was among the first three Davis appointees to be confirmed by the three-person Commission on Judicial Appointments. She was approved by that commission and sworn in as a member of Div. Two on Nov. 9, 1999.

It was revealed at the hearing that the JNE Commission had rated her “well qualified.”

Perluss, 53, is competing for a Supreme Court appointment with Court of Appeal Justice Steven Perrin of this district’s Div. Six, Fifth District Court of Appeal Justice Dennis Cornell, and Judge Carlos Moreno of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Should he lose that contest, a Court of Appeal appointment could be a consolation prize.

Perluss has been a member of the Superior Court since his appointment by Davis in 1999, and is hailed for his intellect. Prior to his appointment, he was a partner in Morrison & Foerster.

Alarcon, 45, was appointed to his present position by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1996, and had been named by Wilson to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1993. He is a former assistant United States attorney general.

The jurist is the son of Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Arthur Alarcon.

Ashmann, 57, was elected to her post in the June 3, 1986 primary, and given an interim appointment by then-Gov. George Deukmejian. She was at that time a Los Angeles Municipal Court judge, having been appointed to that post in 1981 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown.

She previously served as executive assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles.

Boland, 59, was also given his judgeship by Brown in 1981. He was then associate dean and a professor of law at UCLA.

His wife is Judge Margaret Morrow of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Rubin, 54, was appointed by Brown to the Santa Monica Municipal Court in 1982. He ascended to the Superior Court last year when trial court unification was effected.

At the time of his appointment, he was of counsel to Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp.

Johnson, who will turn 54 on Sunday, was given her judgeship on Dec. 31, 1982 by Brown, who had placed her on the Ventura County Municipal Court earlier that year. She was in private practice at the time.

She lost out to Perrin in 1999 for appointment to a Court of Appeal vacancy on the Ventura-based Div. Six. That office would again become vacant should Perrin be elevated to the Supreme Court.

Johnson was not evaluated by the JNE Commission in connection with a particular division, and could be appointed to the Los Angeles panel.

Mosk, at 62, is the oldest of the potential appointees, and the only one who is not a sitting California judge. He is, however, a judge of the U.S.-Iran Claims Tribunal, to which he returned in 1997, having served a stint from 1981-84.

Mosk in 1993 was reportedly on U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein’s short list (with six names on it) for appointment to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, but his bid for the post fizzled. He is presently a partner in Sanders, Barnet, Goldman, Simons & Mosk.

In addition to the six seats to be filled in this district, there are four vacancies in the First and Fourth Districts and one each in the Third, Fifth and Sixth Districts. Four of those vacancies are newly created seats.

The longest-standing vacancy is that in the First District’s Div. Four, created by the retirement of Presiding Justice Daniel Hanlon on Dec. 31.


Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company