Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, May 24, 2004


Page 1


Referee Brian Petraborg Elected Commissioner

John Murphy Loses Second Runoff Battle This Year


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Superior Court Referee Brian Petraborg has been elected a commissioner of the Los Angeles Superior Court, officials said Friday.

Petraborg defeated John Murphy, a retired municipal court commissioner who sits in the Superior Court on assignment, in a runoff. It was the second time Murphy has lost in a runoff this year.

The voting was necessary because only one candidate received a majority in balloting for two positions last month. That candidate was Robert A. McSorley, a Ventura attorney who a court spokesman said will be sworn in tomorrow.

McSorley was ranked No. 3 among the 35 candidates nominated by the court’s evaluating panel late last year. The two top-ranked candidates, H. Elizabeth Harris and Maren E. Nelson, were previously elected to commissioner posts.

Harris won without a runoff, while Nelson defeated Murphy in a second round of balloting in February. Harris was No.1 on the original list, Nelson No. 2, Petraborg No. 4, and Murphy No. 20.

Petraborg told the MetNews he intends to wrap up his current assignment at Children’s Court in Monterey Park and take a brief vacation before assuming his new duties. After more than two decades in juvenile court, first as a lawyer and then as a judicial officer, he said he hopes to obtain an assignment in a new field.

“I kind of want to broaden my horizons,” he said. “I’d like to become proficient in other areas of law.”

Petraborg graduated from Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, clerking for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office his senior year. He was admitted to the bar in 1982 and spent the next nine years in the legal unit representing the Department of Children and Family Services in dependency cases.

He has spent most of his time as a referee in dependency court, but has had other assignments, including mental health, he noted.

Petraborg’s election moves Harvey A. Silberman, who works for San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Legal Services in Pacoima, to the top of the rankings that will be used the next time a commissioner is elected.

As Murphy’s situation indicates, judges are not bound by the rankings. But no candidate has been elected out of ranked order since the previous list was established in 2001.

The ranked order of candidates, after Silberman, is Referee Anthony Trendacota, Munger, Tolles & Olson staff counsel Anthony B. Drewry, Referee Steff Padilla, Santa Monica attorney James N. Bianco, Century City attorney H. Jay Ford III, Referee Pamela A. Davis, Lancaster attorney and former Referee David Bianchi, Court of Appeal attorney Mary Lou Katz, Alliance for Children’s Rights attorney Amy M. Pellman, Los Angeles attorney Graciela Freixes, Santa Monica lawyer Susan Weiss, Referee Alan H. Friedenthal, Los Angeles attorney David J. Cowan, Long Beach attorney Tamila Ipema, Murphy, former Refeee Laura Hymowitz, Referee Daniel Zeke Zeidler, Covina attorney Rocky Lee Crabb, and former Referee Joel Wallenstein.

They are followed by Deputy County Counsel Catherine Pratt, Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Zuzga, Deputy District Attorney Lori-Ann Jones, Los Angeles attorney 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 both in November runoffs for open seats as Los Angeles Superior Court judges.


Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company