Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, April 11, 2005


Page 1


Referee Steff Padilla Elected Superior Court Commissioner


By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts


Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Steff Padilla has been elected a Superior Court commissioner in balloting by the court’s more than 400 judges, officials said Friday.

“I’m humbled and really excited,” Padilla, 44, told the MetNews minutes after receiving official word of her election. Padilla, who sits at Los Padrinos Juvenile Court in Downey, said she expects to be sworn in later this week.

She said she had no “no idea” where she would be sitting.

“I love juvenile court,” she commented. “I would love to stay here, but if they want me to go somewhere else, I’d be happy to go.”

Arkansas to California

Padilla, who grew up in Little Rock, Ark., is a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts and Indiana University School of Law. She was a deputy Arkansas attorney general before moving to Los Angeles and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1991, practicing for 10 years before becoming a referee.

“The best decision I ever made,” she said, was moving to the West Coast. Her parents, originally from Puerto Rico, still live in Little Rock, where one of her brothers is an attorney.

Her husband, Alan Friedenthal, is an attorney and as-needed referee and is one of the 26 candidates she defeated to win the election.

Padilla succeeds Michael Levanas, who was appointed a judge. There are now three vacant commissioner slots, as Mitchel Harris, Steven Leventhal, and H. Franklin Jones retired last week.

A court spokesperson said ballots for those positions would be sent out today. The deadline for returning them is April 28 and votes will be counted April 29.

Ranked List

The candidates will be listed in the ranking order established by a judicial panel two years ago. The rankings are not binding on the judges, but the top ranked candidate on the list, from which eight commissioners have now been elected, has never failed to win election.

The candidates, in ranked order, will be 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 attorney Susan Weiss; Friedenthal; Los Angeles attorney David J. Cowan; Long Beach attorney Tamila Ipema; retired municipal court Commissioner John Murphy; former Referee Laura Hymowitz; Covina attorney Rocky Lee Crabb; Joel Wallenstein, a former referee, and Deputy County Counsel Catherine Pratt.

Also 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.


Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company