Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, September 26, 2001


Page 1


Davis to Announce Appointee to State High Court Today


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Gov. Gray Davis has scheduled a press conference for this morning to announce his selection for the state Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Stanley Mosk.

Davis’ office said he would reveal his choice, from among four finalists whose names were disclosed Aug. 1, at the Ronald Reagan State Building at 11:45 a.m.

The four are Fifth District Court of Appeal Justice Dennis Cornell, U.S. District Judge Carlos Moreno of the Central District of California, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis Perluss, and Court of Appeal Justice Steven Perren of this district’s Div. Six.

Moreno said last night he didn’t know whom the governor had selected.

Perren declined to discuss the selection, and Perluss and Cornell could not be reached.

Moreno, a former Los Angeles Superior Court judge, has no appellate judging experience. Perluss has been on the bench less than two years, although he recently completed a short assignment to the Court of Appeal.

Cornell has been an appellate justice since December of last year, having previously served as a Merced Superior Court judge and before that as a part-time federal magistrate. Perren was appointed to the Court of Appeal two years ago after 17 years on the Ventura Superior Court.

Perren is the oldest of the four at 59. He has been a member of the Court of Appeal since November 1999, when he was confirmed as one of Davis’ first appellate appointments. JNE Commission member Charles Bird, who oversaw Perren’s evaluation, said at the time he was the most qualified nominee Bird had ever reviewed.

A San Fernando Valley native and Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star, he served as a Ventura deputy district attorney for three years before practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law and criminal defense in Ventura from 1972 until his appointment to the Superior Court 10 years later.

He is regarded as one of the state’s foremost experts on the law governing sentencing of criminal defendants.

Moreno, 52, was born in East Los Angeles and graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School, where he was senior class president. He holds degrees from Yale University—where he headed a Mexican American student group prior to graduating in 1970—and Stanford University Law School.

After graduating Stanford in 1975, he became a Los Angeles deputy city attorney, working in the criminal and consumer fraud sections. His boss, then-City Attorney Burt Pines, is now the governor’s top adviser on judicial appointments.

Moreno was a senior associate at a Los Angeles law firm when then-Gov. George Deukmejian tapped him for the Compton Municipal Court in 1986. He was elevated to the Superior Court by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1993.

His 1998 appointment to the federal bench by President Clinton was endorsed by a number of elected officials in both parties.

Cornell, 53, was appointed to the Merced Superior Court in 1992 by Wilson, and served as presiding judge from 1997 to 1999. He has served in the appellate departments of the Merced and Mariposa superior courts, and served on assignment to the Fifth District before becoming a member of it.

He began his law practice in Merced in 1974 and later was elected to represent his region on the State Bar Board of Governors. He had a broad practice, with specialization in family law, and would be the first certified family law specialist to sit on the high court.

Perluss, 53, was a partner at Morrison & Foerster when Davis appointed him to the Superior Court in October 1999. He handled securities, antitrust and other forms of complex business litigation and taught at USC’s law school. He was deputy general counsel for the Christopher Commission and was a Los Angeles County Bar Association trustee.

He previously worked at Hufstedler & Kaus for 20 years. He clerked for Shirley Hufstedler when she was a judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and also for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart.


Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company