Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Page 1


Epstein Nominated as Presiding Justice, Hearing Set for Oct. 5


By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts


An Oct. 5 confirmation hearing has been set to consider Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nomination of Justice Norman L. Epstein as presiding justice of Div. Four of this district’s Court of Appeal, the Administrative Office of the Courts has announced. 

The hearing before the Commission on Judicial Appointments will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the courtroom of the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Los Angeles. When hearing nominations from this district, the commission consists of Chief Justice Ronald M. George, Attorney General Bill Lockyer, and the senior presiding justice of the division, Joan Dempsey Klein of Div. Three.

Epstein, nominated late Friday, has been a member of Div. Four since 1990 and its acting presiding justice since Charles Vogel retired in January.

Comment Deadline

The AOC, which provides staff assistance to the commission, requested that persons wishing to comment on the nomination and/or to speak at the hearing submit their comments or requests in writing by Sept. 28 at 5 p.m.. Commission guidelines require that those wishing to speak include a summary of their proposed testimony with their requests.

The AOC asked that comments and requests be addressed to Commission on Judicial Appointments c/o Chief Justice of California,  Supreme Court of California, 350 McAllister Street, San Francisco, California 94102  Attention: Ms. Gale Tunnell, Secretary to the Commission.

Epstein, 71, is the recipient of numerous professional honors. He was the MetNews “Person of the Year” for 1994 and was awarded the State Bar’s Bernard E. Witkin Medal in 2001. Epstein originated the medal in 1993 to honor the scholar who authored well-known treatises on California law and procedure.

Witkin himself was the first recipient of the award. The scholar died in 1995 at age 91.

Many Awards

Epstein began his work on Witkin’s “California Criminal Law” in 1980. His other awards include the Roger J. Traynor Memorial Award as Appellate Justice of the Year, the President’s Award by the California Judges Association, the National Association of College and University Attorneys’ Distinguished Service Award, and the Trial Jurist of the Year Award of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

He earned his undergraduate degree from UCLA in 1955 and his law degree from the same university in 1958. After graduation, he joined the office of then-Attorney General Pat Brown, leaving in 1962 to become general counsel of the California State University and Colleges.

He spent 13 years in the CSU system, where he was also vice chancellor, before being appointed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1975.

Gov. Jerry Brown elevated him to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1980, and Gov. George Deukmejian appointed him to the Court of Appeal 10 years later.

He served as the dean of the California Judicial College from 1981 to 1983 and thereafter served as chair of the Governing Committee of the California Center for Judicial Education and Research.

In addition to his legal community activities, Epstein served on the Equal Educational Opportunity Task Force of the American Council of Education and as  president of the Pacific Southwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.


Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company