Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, October 7, 2002


Page 1


Marilyn Mackel, Mark Zuckman Named Superior Court Commissioners




Superior Court Referee Marilyn H. Mackel and Deputy Public Defender Mark Zuckman have been elected commissioners of the Los Angeles Superior Court, officials said Friday.

Mackel and Zuckman beat out Referee Guillermina Gutierrez Byrne and Deputy District Attorney Roger Ito in a runoff election to fill vacancies created when three commissioners were named judges in August. The runoff was necessary because only one candidate, Nicholas Taubert, received a majority of the vote in the first round of balloting.

Mackel was sworn in Friday at the Edelman Children’s Court in Monterey Park, where she presides over Dept. 402. She told the MetNews she hopes and expects to remain in dependency court.

“I can’t imagine that there’s a more rewarding judicial position in this court,” she commented. “You’re working with children and families and hoping to keep them from becoming a part of the criminal justice system.”

As a referee since 1991, Mackel said she felt “very connected to the young people” whose cases she has heard. “Hopefully, I’ll be here long enough to see them through.”

Although she practiced business litigation in Orange County before she became a bench officer, the Mississippi native said she has had a longstanding interest in criminal justice and juvenile law.

A graduate of Bennett College, a historically black women’s school in Greensboro, N.C., she was a social worker in foster care in New York City. She later worked as a probation officer while earning a master’s degree at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, part of the City University of New York.

Mackel’s law degree is from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. After graduation, she taught criminal justice at the University of the District of Columbia and had her own practice in the nation’s capital.

She came to the Superior Court as an as-needed referee in 1991 and was invited to sit full time by Judge Michael Nash when he became supervising judge in dependency in 1995. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of West Los Angeles, although she is not currently teaching.

Zuckman, a graduate of USC and UC Davis’ law school, was admitted to the State Bar in 1980. He was said to be in court and unavailable for comment Friday afternoon.

He was on the list of finalists for a commissioner’s position before, but was not selected before the current list of 35 candidates was established in August of last year.

Mackel and Zuckman now become the 16th and 17th commissioners elected from that list. One of the remaining candidates was appointed a judge and another has dropped out, leaving 16 eligible candidates in any future elections.

Byrne and Ito would be the highest-ranked candidates in the next election, followed by 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 and Joel Wallenstein.

Wallenstein, a former Antelope Municipal Court candidate, was notified last week that he is being laid off from his referee’s position Nov. 1.


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company