Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, November 4, 2006


Page 3


Federal Prosecutor From Los Angeles Gets San Diego Judgeship


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday named five new superior court judges, including a Los Angeles-based assistant U.S. attorney who will serve on the San Diego Superior Court.

Gonzalo Curiel, 53, has been a federal prosecutor here for four-and-a-half years. He previously headed the narcotics unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego, where he worked from 1989 to 2002.

He came to Los Angeles, he explained yesterday, because his wife had a job here. But he specifically applied for the San Diego court and is looking forward to moving back south, he explained.

“I have lots of friends in San Diego from my 13 years there,” he commented, and is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with a number of former prosecutors who are now judges in the county.

He said he has not yet had time to talk to the presiding judge about his assignment, but expects to take office in three to four weeks.

A native of East Chicago, Ind., he holds bachelor’s and law degrees from Indiana University. He has been practicing in California since 1986, when he joined the now-defunct Los Angeles firm of Barbosa & Vera, representing local public entities.

The governor also named Mark Mandio, 44, to the Riverside Superior Court;  Rodney A. Cortez, 41, to the San Bernardino Superior Court;  and Timothy W. Salter, 59, and Thomas D. Zeff, 55, to the Stanislaus Superior Court.

Mandio is a senior deputy in the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, where he has worked since 1995. Previously, he was an associate with the law firm Gray, Cary, Ware & Freidenrich from 1992 to 1995.

Mandio, a Marine Corps veteran, is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and Hastings College of the Law.

Cortez as served as a deputy district attorney in San Bernardino County since 1996 and was in private practice before that. His undergraduate and law degrees are from Brigham Young University. 

Salter, a civil litigator, founded The Salter Law Firm in 1980 and has practiced in Modesto since 1972. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Santa Clara and a law degree from the University of San Francisco.

Zeff has been a partner in the Modesto law firm now known as Crabtree, Schmidt, Zeff & Jacobs since 1976, specializing in civil litigation. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon and Hastings College of the Law.

Curiel is a Democrat; Cortez, Salter, and Mandio are Republicans; Zeff is unaffiliated. Superior Court judges recently received a salary increase; the compensation for the position is now $158,201.


Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company