Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, December 22, 2003


Page 1


Court Lists 35 Candidates for Commissioner Posts


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Los Angeles Superior Court Friday named 35 finalists for court commissioner positions.

  The list, portions of which were previously reported by the MetNews based on information from sources, replaces one which has been used since September 2001. That list was officially revoked by the Executive Committee earlier in the week, leaving nine candidates unelected.

  Four of the nine—Referees Brian Petraborg and Anthony Trendacosta and former Referee Joel Wallenstein, as well as Santa Monica family law specialist Susan Weiss—made the new list, with Petraborg ranked No. 4 among the candidates, Trendacosta No. 6, Weiss No. 16, and Wallenstein No. 24.

The last commissioner elected from the old list was No. 25. The rankings, assigned by a judicial panel, are not binding on the court’s judges, who elect the commissioners, but all of the commissioners elected from the previous list were chosen in ranked order.

As previously reported, the list is headed by H. Elizabeth Harris, a veteran criminal defense lawyer. She is followed by Maren E. Nelson, a Morrison & Foerster partner who primarily does financial institutions litigation; Robert A. McSorley, a veteran litigator who is now a Ventura sole practioner; Petraborg; Harvey A. Silberman, who works for San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Legal Services in Pacoima; Trendacosta; and Anthony B. Drewry, staff counsel at Munger, Tolles & Olson.

Nelson said she was “very honored the judges have expressed that level of confidence” in her abilities. The attorney, who has been with her present firm since 1987, said she applied because “after 22 years of practicing law, I’m interested in another aspect of the legal world.”

McSorley, who spent 25 years at Oxnard’s England, Whitfield, Schroeder and Tredway, LLP, said his high ranking was “very humbling.”

In addition to his practice, which has included criminal and family law as well as business litigation, he is a disability retirement hearing officer for Santa Barbara and San Bernardino counties.

McSorley said he applied for the position, despite a lack of significant ties to the Los Angeles judges who will vote on the appointment, because he has not been able to obtain one of the small number of commissioner positions available in his home county and because he is “very impressed by the quality of the court.”

The interview process, he said, went well because the judges on the panel, none of whom he knew beforehand, “were very pleasant.”

Depending on where he is assigned if selected, he said, he may move to Los Angeles County. He noted that he has one daughter living in Burbank and another in Brentwood.

Drewry, who formerly practiced at Richards, Watson & Gerson, said he was “very pleased perhaps to have a wonderful opportunity.”

In contrast to the previous list, which was dominated by candidates from the public sector, the new list includes a majority of private-sector attorneys. It also includes nine of the court’s referees, four deputy district attorneys, a deputy county counsel, and a Court of Appeal research attorney.

The list will be used to fill the two commissioner posts now vacant, as well as a to-be-determined number of future vacancies.

The rest of the list, in ranked order:

Referee Steff Padilla, Santa Monica attorney James N. Bianco, Century City attorney H. Jay Ford III, Referee Pamela A. Davis, Lancaster attorney and former judicial candidate David Bianchi, Court of Appeal attorney Mary Lou Katz, Alliance for Children’s Rights attorney Amy M. Pellman, Los Angeles attorney Gracia Freixes, Weiss, Referee Alan H. Friedenthal, Los Angeles attorney David J. Cowan, Long Beach attorney Tamila Ipema, retired Commissioner John M. Murphy, former Refeee Laura Hymowitz, Referee Daniel Zeke Zeidler, Covina attorney Rocky Lee Crabb, and Wallenstein.

Also Deputy County Counsel Catherine Pratt, Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Zuzga, Deputy District Attorney Lori-Ann Jones, Los Angeles attorney and former Superior Court candidate Robert Harrison, Referee Stephen Marpet, Deputy District Attorney Lia R. Martin, Los Angeles attorney Paul Ted Suzuki, Manhattan Beach attorney Michele Flurer, Deputy District Attorney William J. Woods, Los Angeles attorney Adrienne L. Krikorian, and Referee Jacqueline H. Lewis.

Zeidler and Jones are currently running for open seats on the Los Angeles Superior Court.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company