Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, September 16, 2002


Page 1


Nicholas Taubert Elected Superior Court Commissioner


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Veteran child support enforcement attorney Nicholas Taubert has been elected a commissioner of the Los Angeles Superior Court, officials said Friday.

Taubert was the only candidate to win the votes of a majority of the court’s judges in voting for three seats that ended Thursday. A runoff election will decide the winners of the other two seats.

Taubert, 58, said he would regret leaving the child-support enforcement office, where he has worked for the past 22 years.

“I really thrive on dealing with the people,” he told the MetNews. “There’s  a bit of a separation when you’re a bench officer.”

But he applied for the commissioner position, he said, because his “whole career has been devoted to public service.” The Pekin, Ill. native and DePaul University law graduate was a Chicago prosecutor for six years before making his way west to escape the Windy City winters, he said.

His undergraduate degree is from Washington University in St. Louis.      

He was a deputy district attorney, handling both civil and criminal support cases, until last year, when the civil function was transferred to his present employer, the Department of Child Support Services.

“We do a good job,” he said of the department, which was created in response to criticism of the old district attorney bureau.

Taubert said he had not yet talked to court officials about when he would be sworn in or where he would sit. When he interviewed, he said, he told the panel he would be interested in sitting in a criminal court.

Commissioners are often assigned to arraignments or other high-volume assignments, he noted. That would suit his experience handling a large child support caseload, he added.

Taubert said he would not be limited by health problems. He had a mild heart attack while at work earlier this year, but returned to the office within two weeks and said he feels fine.

The candidates in the runoff will be Referee Marilyn Mackel, Deputy Public Defender Mark Zuckman, Referee Guillermina Gutierrez Byrne, and Deputy District Attorney Roger Ito.

Ballots will be sent out on Tuesday and are due back Oct. 3. They will be counted Oct. 4, a court spokesman said.

The election became necessary when three former commissioners—Kelvin Filer, Steven Sanora, and Thomas White—were named as judges by Gov. Gray Davis.

Taubert was the highest ranked candidate on the ballot, based on rankings issued by a judicial panel last August. Mackel, Zuckman, Byrne, and Ito followed, in that order.

The rankings are not binding on the court’s judges. But Taubert is the 15th commissioner elected from the list, all in ranked order.

The next-highest ranked candidates, after the four who are in the runoff, are Covina attorney and former Superior Court candidate H. Don Christian, Long Beach practitioner Stuart Rice, Woodland Hills attorney Dennis Mulcahy, Riverside Superior Court Commissioner Gretchen W. Taylor, Deputy Public Defender Lisa Brackelmanns, and Referees Brian Petraborg, Joel Wallenstein, Steven Berman, and Anthony Trendacosta.

Wallenstein is a former Antelope Municipal Court candidate.


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company