Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Page 3


Portantino ‘Educated’ During ‘Day on the Bench’


By a MetNews Staff Writer


State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-Pasadena, found his “Day on the Bench” at the Pasadena courthouse “educational,” he told the MetNews yesterday.

Portantino, who represents the 44th District, spent last Friday touring the courthouse and observing the proceedings therein as part of a program offered by the Los Angeles Superior Court.

“I think it’s important for non-lawyers, lay people, to try to understand . . . the ongoing institutions and was pleased that the court system invited me to spend a day and sit up there and see how the system works,” Portantino said. “To sit down with several of the judges and hear their concerns, including, budgetary concerns was educational.”

Under the “Day at the Bench” Program, the county courts invited all 15 newly-elected state senators and Assembly members representing Los Angeles County to spend a day in court at their convenience. Presiding Judge-elect J. Stephen Czuleger said the program, which he thinks is at least 10 years old, involves local judges contacting assembly members and asking them if they want to come visit.

It’s designed to help the court reach out to members of the Legislature and help them understand how their local courts are operating, he said. Supervising Judge Coleman A. Swart of the Northeast District and courthouse staff escorted Portantino, who was the first new legislator to participate in this year’s program, through the Pasadena Courthouse.

Judge Alice Hill, chairperson of the Outreach Governance Committee, said in a release:

 “The Day on the Bench with Assemblymember Portantino illustrates that new public officials are eager to discuss substantive issues and want to be prepared for their first legislative session when they arrive in Sacramento.”

“These sessions are extremely beneficial for both the Court and the county’s delegation to help us build and maintain close relationships.”

Portantino said:

 “I sat down and had a nice meeting with the supervising judge as well as the supervising judge of the San Fernando Courthouse. Obviously within the state of California, there are certain budget issues that will come before the Legislature, and they were fine advocates for their courts and the court system, and I was pleased to sit and hear them out.”


Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company