Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Philip Gutierrez Gains Nomination to U.S. District Court Vacancy
By a MetNews Staff Writer
President Bush yesterday nominated Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Philip Gutierrez to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Gutierrez, who was previously a Whittier Municipal Court judge, was nominated to the seat left vacant when Judge Terry Hatter Jr. took senior status last year. The appointment requires confirmation by the Senate.
Gutierrez, 45, was appointed to the bench in 1997 by then-Gov. Pete Wilson. At the time, he was a partner in the firm of Cotkin & Collins, practicing in the fields of business litigation, insurance bad faith and coverage, and professional liability out of the firm’s Santa Ana office.
He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1981 and from UCLA School of Law in 1984. After a stint as an associate at Wolf, Pocrass & Reyes—where he clerked during law school—he practice with two other local firms before joining Cotkin & Collins in 1988.
He was a member of the State Bar Committee on Professional Liability Insurance and contributed to the 1991 rewrite of Weinstein’s Evidence. He is the author of several published articles on insurance coverage litigation and legal and accountancy malpractice, and served as a trustee of the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County.
Gutierrez currently sits in Pomona, where he has heard a number of murder cases, including those of Valentino Mitchell Arenas, sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole at age 16 for the murder of California Highway Patrol Officer Thomas Steiner outside the Pomona courthouse, and Robert Lee Salazar, a Texas businessman acquitted of throwing a co-worker with whom he was having an affair off the balcony of his hotel room.
Prosecutors theorized that Salazar killed Sandra Orellana in order to cover up the affair, but Salazar said she fell during a sexual encounter after having had a good deal to drink.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company