Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, September 8, 2003


Page 1


Valley Lawyer, Riverside Jurist Elected Court Commissioners


By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts


A Woodland Hills sole practitioner and a Riverside Superior Court commissioner have been elected commissioners of the Los Angeles Superior Court, a court spokesman said Friday.

Attorney Dennis Mulcahy and Commissioner Gretchen W. Taylor topped the field in voting by the court's judges. They fill vacancies resulting from the appointment of Joseph S. Biderman as a judge of the court and from the retirement of Robert McIntosh.

For Taylor, the appointment represents a homecoming of sorts. She practiced with the Beverly Hills firm of Jaffe & Clemens, specializing in family law, before getting the Riverside job and moving to Indio six years ago.

“I've got a grin from ear to ear,” she told the MetNews. She described the Riverside court as a great place to work, but said the change would be “invigorating.”

‘Slower Pace’

Moving to Riverside, she explained, gave her the opportunity to “try life in a smaller town with a slower pace.” There are not that many courthouses that give you the chance to look out at “swaying palm trees and hot air balloons,” she noted.

She said she remains grateful to the judges there who “took me on as an unknown person.” Her new post, however, will enable her to be closer to her mother, who lives in Los Angeles and rarely travels anymore, and to her son, who recently returned from studies in China and is now at Loyola Law School, she explained.

She remains “passionate” about family law and hopes to remain in that field with her new assignment. But if the court needs her to do something else, she said, “I accept ...whatever the experience has to offer.”

Two Weeks

Taylor, a Southwestern University School of Law graduate who teaches family law to bench officers new to the field through the California Center for Judicial Education and Research, said she hopes to join the court within two weeks.

Mulcahy, who could not be reached for comment Friday, is a Chicago native who graduated from San Fernando Valley College of Law, now part of the University of LaVerne. He came to California after graduation from Quincy College in Quincy, Ill.

He was a deputy public defender from 1977 to 1980, then went into private practice, primarily in criminal defense. He started with two partners but has been by himself since 1984.

He continues to practice primarily in criminal defense, and is a member of the County Bar's panel that represents indigent defendants when both the public defender and alternate public defender are conflicted out or unavailable. He also does some personal injury work.                                                                  

Lost Runoff

Mulcahy, who lost a runoff election to fill a previous commissioner vacancy, and Taylor were the highest ranked candidates in the voting, based on the evaluations completed two years ago by a panel of judges.

The remaining candidates in the just-completed voting, in ranked order, were Deputy Public Defender Lisa Brackelmanns, Referee Brian Petraborg, Long Beach attorney and onetime Antelope Municipal Court candidate Joel Wallenstein, Referee Steven Lee Berman, Referee Anthony Trendacosta, Downey lawyer Daniel Wilson, Los Angeles attorney Joseph Sheehan, Santa Monica family law specialist Susan Weiss, Beverly Hills attorney Marilyn Nelson and Santa Monica criminal law specialist Steven Hauser.

The court is in the process of choosing a new list from among 173 candidates who have applied for future appointments.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company