Wednesday, February 8, 2006
Governor Names Two Prosecutors to Superior Court Bench
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday named two prosecutors to fill the only vacancies on the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzette Clover was chosen to succeed Judge Kevin Ross, who resigned, and Deputy District Attorney Hector Guzman was named to replace Judge David Workman, who retired at 5 p.m. Monday.
Clover, 51, has served in the United State’s Attorney’s Office since 1987, where she specializes in employment discrimination cases. Clover was a litigation associate at Adams, Duque & Hazeltine from 1982 to 1987.
She is a graduate of USC and of UCLA School of Law.
Her predecessor, Ross, resigned Jan. 12, a spokesperson for the governor said. The resignation had not been publicly announced, and a Superior Court spokesperson was unaware of it when contacted early yesterday, but confirmed it later in the day.
Ross was ordered removed by the Commission on Judicial Performance in November, based on findings that he had engaged in several instances of serious misconduct involving his treatment of criminal defendants. He could have contested the order by petitioning for review by the California Supreme Court, but did not do so prior to resigning.
Guzman, 44, has spent his entire legal career with the District Attorney’s Office, where he began work in 1989. He is currently deputy-in-charge of the East Los Angeles office, after having served in the Major Narcotics and Forfeiture, Justice System Integrity, and Major Crimes divisions.
Guzman graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Ore. and from Middlebury College in Vermont, where he played on the freshman ice hockey team—an injury prevented him from playing at the varsity level, he explained—before going on to get his undergraduate degree.
He was born in Santa Monica and grew up in Venice, but went to boarding school in Connecticut to pursue his interest in hockey, which he played in Culver City while growing up.
Guzman said he expects to visit the Mosk courthouse today to begin orientation, and to be sworn in after taking several days to wrap up work in East Los Angeles. He said he did not know where he would be assigned, and had no particular preference.
“Wherever they need a body, I’ll go,” he said. “They kind of teach you that in the District Attorney’s Office.”
Workman, whom Guzman was appointed to replace, told the MetNews that he timed his retirement in order to enable Schwarzenegger to appoint his successor. The nominating period for the June 6 primary begins Monday.
“I’m very impressed with the quality of his judicial appointments,” Workman said of the governor. He said he does not know his successor, but was looking forward to meeting him today.
Workman, who is in the middle of a trial, was immediately assigned to the court as a retired judge by Chief Justice Ronald M. George. Workman said he will serve in that capacity until the end of the year and hoped to return from time to time.
His seat was among those up for election this year, but the timing of his retirement means that Guzman will not have to face the voters before 2008. Had Workman remained on the bench until next week, another candidate could have filed for the seat and the election would have taken place this year whether the incumbent ran or not.
Workman, who is 75 years old, told the MetNews last fall that he intended to run for another term. He explained yesterday that he changed his mind, in part due to a fall he suffered before the beginning of the year, which helped convince him it was “time to explore other interests and other horizons.”
He said he has made “no specific plans” for retirement and is not interest in private judging.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute” of judicial service, he said. “It’s been a wonderful 25 years, one month and two days.”
He added that he was proud to have been part of the court. “I think we do a great job, not only the [bench and the] courtroom staff but all of the people in the different offices of the Superior Court,” he said.
Workman was elected to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1980 and to the Superior Court in 1982. He practiced law for 22 years before that, including 17 years as a law firm associate, in-house corporate lawyer, and sole practitioner before joining the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office in 1975.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company