Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Page 1


Commission on Judicial Performance Elects Marshall Grossman Chairman


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Santa Monica attorney Marshall Grossman has been elected chairman of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the CJP disclosed yesterday.

Grossman, 65, was named an attorney member of the commission by then-Gov. Gray Davis in April 2001, was elected vice chairman last year, and was appointed to a new term by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger earlier this month.

His term as chairman is one year, his commission term expires February 28, 2009.

“The commission serves a salutary purpose,” Grossman told the METNEWS. “[Becoming chairman] is a wonderful opportunity for public service.”

Grossman expressed confidence in the commission leadership, including Director/Chief Counsel Victoria Henley and immediate past Chairman Vance W. Raye, and said he looked forward to continuing the work that the commission has underway.

A major goal of his chairmanship, Grossman said, will be “greater transparency.” The commission, which operates under strict rules of confidentiality and did not disclose how individual members voted prior to being ordered to do so by the Court of Appeal, needs to “remove some of the mystery that cloaks...its actions.”

But Grossman made clear that while the commission can improve the extent to which the public, the bar, and the judiciary understands what it does, he has no intention of seeking any diminution in the confidentiality of its preliminary proceedings, which he said serves a necessary function.

The commission’s preliminary investigations into charges of judicial misconduct are confidential, in the sense that commission members and employees cannot discuss them publicly, although judges under investigation and persons who have been talked to by staff members may do so. The commission may impose private forms of discipline—advisory or “stinger” letters or private admonishments—or may institute formal, public proceedings that may result in public admonishment, censure, or removal from the bench.

The commission has been playing and will continue to play a role, Grossman said, in discussions involving a possible amendment, still in the drafting stage, to the judiciary article of the state Constitution. The amendment could bring to fruition longstanding proposals to expand the range of disciplinary measures available to the commission, such as fines and/or suspensions, powers currently held by judicial watchdog agencies in some states.

The 11-member CJP includes three judges chosen by the Supreme Court, two lawyers appointed by the governor, and six laypersons. The lay members are chosen by the governor, Assembly speaker, and Senate Rules Committee, each getting two appointments.

A founder of the firm now known as Alschuler, Grossman, Stein & Kahan—which moved from Century City to Santa Monica a little over two years ago—Grossman is among the area’s most prominent litigators. His clients in high-profile cases have included Arthur Andersen, Tommy Hilfiger, and DreamWorks SKG.

He has also served on the boards of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the United Way, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Public Counsel, and the Association of Business Trial Lawyers. His current board memberships include Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Jewish Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the American Jewish Committee.

As CJP chair, he replaces Third District Court of Appeal Justice Vance Raye. Raye’s term on the commission has expired, although he continues to serve pending appointment of a successor.

Replacing Grossman as vice chairman of the CJP is Orange Superior Court Judge Frederick P. Horn.

Horn, 62, was recently reappointed to the commission by the Supreme Court. His term as vice chair is one year; his commission term expires in 2009.

Horn was a Los Angeles deputy district attorney from 1974 to 1991, after having served as a district attorney investigator from 1971 to 1974.

Then-Gov. George Deukmejian appointed him to the Orange County Harbor Municipal Court in 1990, and he was serving as the assistant presiding judge of that court when then-Gov. Pete Wilson elevated him to the Orange Superior Court in 1993.

A Minnesota native, Horn grew up in Lompoc and joined the city’s police department in 1963. He earned an associate’s degree from Hancock College in 1964.

He joined the Santa Monica Police Department in 1965, then joined the Army in 1967 and was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division in Washington, D.C. He returned to Santa Monica in 1969 and was promoted to sergeant before being hired by the District Attorney’s Office.

He earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of West Los Angeles before becoming a deputy district attorney. His assignments as a prosecutor included hard-core gang crimes and crimes against police officers.

Besides Raye, there are two other commission members who are holding over—Patricia Miller, a public member appointed by the speaker and Barbara Schraeger, a public member appointed by the Rules Committee. Both are eligible for appointment to second terms.

The CJP has one vacancy, a public member position to be filled by Schwarzenegger.


Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company