Friday, April 15, 2005
Schwarzenegger Names Three to Los Angeles Superior Court
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday named a court commissioner, a prosecutor who ran unsuccessfully for election as a judge, and an appellate advocate for criminal defendants as judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Tapped for the appointments were Commissioner Sanjay T. Kumar, Deputy District Attorney Craig Mitchell, and Deputy Public Defender Alex Ricciardulli.
Kumar, 40, has served as a commissioner since 2001 and sits at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. He was previously a state deputy attorney general and successfully argued for the prosecution in defense of the murder convictions of Erik and Lyle Menendez.
He was also the state”s appellate attorney in the securities-fraud prosecution of financier Charles Keating, whose convictions were overturned in a habeas corpus proceeding based on what the federal courts found to be flaws in the jury instructions.
The Chicago native attended public schools there and is a graduate of Loyola University in that city. He came west to attend Pepperdine Law School, was admitted to the State Bar in 1990, and spent his entire career prior to becoming a commissioner arguing criminal appeals on behalf of the state.
The judicial panel that reviewed commissioner applications four years ago ranked him as the No. 3 candidate among more than 200 who applied for the post.
As a judicial appointee, he fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Susan Isacoff.
Kumar is a Republican.
Mitchell, 48, has served as a deputy district attorney since 1994, handling primarily child abuse and murder cases. From 1992 to 1994, he was an attorney in private practice while also teaching at a Los Angeles law magnet school.
Was School Teacher
Mitchell’s experience includes 17 years as a high school teacher in Los Angeles public and Catholic schools from 1978 to 1994. Mitchell earned his law degree from Southwestern Law School and his undergraduate degree at UCLA.
He was a candidate last year for the seat then held by Superior Court Judge Rosemary Shumsky, who did not run for reelection. Mitchell was rated well qualified by the Los Angeles County Bar Association, but was eliminated in the six-candidate primary.
The seat was won by then-Superior Court Referee D. Zeke Zeidler, who defeated Deputy District Attorney David Lopez.
Mitchell fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge John Ouderkirk. Mitchell is a Democrat.
Riccardulli, 43, has been a Los Angeles deputy public defender since 1987, handling misdemeanor and felony trials and criminal appeals. Prior to joining the Public Defender’s Office, he served as a law clerk for firms in Las Vegas and San Francisco.
He has been an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School and the University of Southern California Law School since 2002.
He has spent a number of years in his office’s appellate section, arguing before both the Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court. He is a graduate of UCLA and the Boalt Hall School of Law.
He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Lawrence W. Crispo. Ricciardulli is a Democrat.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company