Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, December 5, 2005


Page 1


Schwarzenegger Names Commissioner, Prosecutor, Federal Defender to Los Angeles Superior Court


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday named Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Christina Hill, Federal Public Defender Maria Stratton, and Deputy District Attorney Craig Richman to fill the three remaining vacancies on the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Hill, 54, said she was “stunned,” as well as “delighted and honored” when the Governor’s Office called to tell her of her selection. Hill was one of a number of commissioners in the pool of candidates interviewed by the governor’s Judicial Appointments Advisor, John Davies.

Hill has been a commissioner since 1998 and currently sits at Eastlake Juvenile Court. She was a full-time referee with the court from 1995 to 1998 and an as-needed referee from 1991 to 1995.

Admitted to the State Bar in 1980, she spent most of her time in practice trying criminal and juvenile cases. She was also a senior litigator in the State Bar Office of Trial Counsel from 1987 to 1988.

Hill was born in Camden, N.J. and grew up in the nearby town of Gloucester. After graduating from George Washington University, she worked as a legal assistant in Washington, D.C. and New York before coming to Los Angeles to attend Southwestern University School of Law.

Hill, who said she hopes to be sworn in “as soon as possible,” fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Philip Argento. She added that she had not yet spoken to Presiding Judge William MacLaughlin and did not know whether she will remain in juvenile court.

“I’m very happy in my current assignment,” she told the MetNews, “but I’d be happy to serve in any capacity.”

Stratton, 52, has been the federal public defender for the Central District since 1993, supervising a staff of 160, including 60 attorneys, working in offices in Los Angeles, Santa Ana and Riverside.

Prior to her appointment to her present post, Stratton had been the managing partner of the Los Angeles law firm of Talcott, Lightfoot, Vandevelde, Woehrle & Sadowsky, where she worked from 1985 to 1993, and was an associate at Overland, Berke, Wesley, Gits, Randolph & Levanas from 1984 to 1985. She had previously been a deputy federal public defender.

She was honored in 1992 with the California State Bar’s Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services. A California native, Stratton received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California and is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law.

She succeeds Judge Floyd Baxter, who retired Nov. 1.

Richman, 47, has been a deputy district attorney since 1986. He is currently assigned to a central trials unit after having served as assistant head deputy in the Target Crimes Division—which prosecuted crimes against peace officers, among other things,  and in San Fernando.

Richman earned his law degree from McGeorge School of Law and a bachelor of science degree from Arizona State University. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gregory O’Brien Jr.

Hill and Stratton are Democrats. Richman is a Republican.


Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company