Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, October 10, 2003


Page 1


New Judicial Appointments Leave At Least 16 Vacancies


From Staff and Wire Service Reports


Gov. Gray Davis yesterday named three lawyers to the Santa Clara and Mendocino superior courts, but at least 16 vacancies remain on the state’s superior courts—five of them in Los Angeles County.

Davis appointed attorneys Philip H. Pennypacker and Vincent J. Chiarello to the Santa Clara Superior Court and lawyer David Nelson to the Mendocino Superior Court.

The governor has made 15 appointments to the state’s superior courts since Oct. 1, sharply reducing the number of vacancies remaining to be filled. Figures provided by the Administrative Office of the Courts indicate that there were 28 vacancies as of that date.

But two additional vacancies are expected to occur next week, one of them locally, for a total of at least six on the Los Angeles Superior Court and 12 on other superior courts around the state.

The vacancies created by the elevations last month of Justices Madeleine I. Flier and Laurie D. Zelon from the Los Angeles Superior Court to this district’s Court of Appeal have yet to be filled, nor has the governor named a replacement Judge William C. Beverly Jr., who retired in August.

The retirement last Friday of Judge John L. Martinez and the death Tuesday of Judge Warren G. Greene create two more vacancies, and Wednesday’s scheduled retirement of Karl W. Jaeger would bring the number of vacancies to six.

The vacancy roster provided by the AOC indicates that 11 superior court seats vacant on Oct. 1 remain to be filled in other counties: three in Sacramento County and one each in Alameda, Contra Costa, Imperial, Merced, Orange, San Bernardino, Yolo and Yuba counties. A Nevada Superior Court opening will be created Wednesday if, as expected, Judge M. Kathleen Butz is confirmed to the Third District Court of Appeal by the Commission on Judicial Appointments at a hearing in Sacramento.

The Governor’s Office yesterday said in a statement that Davis will  continue making appointments and signing legislation until the new governor is sworn in. The statement came after Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger called on Davis to stop making appointments and signing bills.

Pennypacker, 56, is a sole practitioner and a former president of the Santa Clara County Bar Association whose practice concentrates on criminal defense and defense of State Bar disciplinary cases. He was previously a San Jose deputy public defender and has served as executive director of the California Public Defenders Association.

The lawyer has also served as president of the Santa Clara County Bar Law Foundation and of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice.

He earned his undergraduate degree at UC Santa Barbara and his law degree from Santa Clara Law School. He replaces Judge Robert Foley, who retired in April.

 Chiarello, 46, is a Morrison and Foerster partner whose practice emphasizes complex civil litigation. Before joining the firm, he clerked for then-Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Anthony N. Kennedy.

Chiarello’s undergraduate degree was earned at City University of New York. His law degree is from Yale Law School.

He replaces Judge Marliese Kim, who retired in August.

Nelson, 56, is a former president of the Mendocino County Bar Association and a partner in the firm of Nelson and Riemenschneider, where he specializes in criminal defense. He has also worked as a deputy public defender.

He earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford University and his law degree from Yale Law School. He will replace Judge Ronald Combest, who retired in September of last year.

The governor also late Wednesday named Charles Stevens Crandall to the San Luis Obispo Superior Court, Santa Cruz County Supervisor John Jeffrey Almquist to the Santa Cruz Superior Court, and Douglas Hatchimonji to the Orange Superior Court.

Hatchimonji, 48, is a partner in the firm of Rose, Klein & Marias, which he joined in 1981. He has previously served as a judge pro tem and appointed arbitrator for the court.

He earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA and his law degree from the Southwestern University School of Law. He replaces Judge James Selna, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in April.

Almquist, 55, has been on the Board of Supervisors since December of 1996. He first practiced law in Connecticut and came to California in 1976.

He earned his undergraduate degree at Yale and his law degree from the University of Connecticut Law School. He also has a master’s degree in business administration from San Jose State University.

He succeeds Justice Richard McAdams, who was confirmed last month to the Sixth District Court of Appeal.

Crandall, 51, is an environmental litigator and was previously an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey and San Diego. His appointment comes a week after he won a verdict for $10 million in punitive damages on behalf of a San Luis Obispo family due to hardships they endured when Unocal Corp. leaked oil onto their property, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported.

He earned his undergraduate degree at Princeton University and his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. He will replace Judge Donald G. Umhofer, who retired last week.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company