Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, May 3, 2006


Page 1


Governor Names Judge Steven C. Suzukawa to Court of Appeal


By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday nominated Los Angeles Superior Court Judge† Steven C. Suzukawa to succeed retired Justice Daniel Curry in Div. Four of this districtís Court of Appeal.

The governor also nominated a new justice for the Fifth District Court of Appeal and named superior court judges in Fresno and Monterey counties.

Suzukawa, 52, was named to the Los Angeles Superior Court by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1992.† He was previously a Compton Municipal Court judge from 1989 to 1992.

He has also sat as a Court of Appeal justice by assignment, most recently a year ago, about the time his name was sent to the JNE Commission as a possible appointee to the court.

Born in Tokyo

He was born in Tokyo, but has lived in the United States since age 2. He grew up primarily in Stockton.

Suzukawa was admitted to the State Bar in 1979. He was briefly associated with the Law Offices of Lawrence Trygstad before becoming a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, a post he held until his appointment to the bench by then-Gov. George Deukmejian in 1989.

His experience was as a prosecutor was mostly in the consumer protection and career criminal divisions.

His undergraduate and law degrees are from UCLA. While in law school, he worked for the California Teachers Association as a law clerk.

His nomination is subject to confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. When considering nominations from this district, the commission consists of Chief Justice Ronald M. George, Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein of Div. Three.

The governor nominated Fresno Superior Court Judge Steven Kane to the Fifth District Court of Appeal to succeed Justice Nickolas Dibiaso, who retired April 30. Kane, 53, has been a judge since 1992.

He previously practiced civil litigation in the law firm of McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte & Carruth, serving as an associate from 1976 to 1981 and as a partner from 1981 until he was appointed to the Superior Court by then-Gov. Pete Wilson.

Kane earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and his law degree from Hastings College of the Law.

The panel that must confirm his nomination consists of George, Lockyer, and Fifth District Presiding Justice James Ardaiz.

Named to the Monterey Superior Court by Schwarzenegger was Sam Lavorato III, 41, a partner in the Salinas law firm of Lavorato, House, Chilton, Lavorato & Lavorato since 1999.

He previously served as a deputy district attorney for Monterey County from 1997 to 1999 and for Shasta County from 1994 to 1997. Prior to that, Lavorato was an associate in the law firm of Lavorato & House from 1993 to 1994.†

Fresno Judge

Lavorato earned his law degree from the Monterey College of Law and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of San Diego. He fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Wendy Duffy to the Court of Appeal.

The governor appointed Arlan L. Harrell to the Fresno Superior Court, where he has served since 2003 as a commissioner. Harrell, 44, was a deputy district attorney for Fresno County from 1994 to 2003 and an associate in the law firm of Lang, Richert & Patch from 1992 to 1994.†

Harrell holds an undergraduate degree from UC Riverside and a law degree from UC Davis, and succeeds Judge Brad Hill, elevated to the Fifth District Court of Appeal.

Suzukawa, Kane, and Lavorato are Republicans; Harrell is a Democrat.


Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company