Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Schwarzenegger Names Nine to Los Angeles Superior Court
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday named 18 people to superior court judgeships throughout the state, including nine to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Deputy District Attorneys Terry A. Bork and Gregory A. Dohi were among the local appointees, along with Deputy Public Defender—and State Bar Board of Governors member Marguerite D. Downing—private attorneys Elizabeth R. Feffer, Lesley C. Green, and Elia Weinbach; Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine Lu; Administrative Law Judge Georgina Torres Rizk, and Superior Court Commissioner Melissa N. Widdifield.
Bork, 50, of Pasadena, has been with the District Attorney’s Office since 1988 and is currently legal advisor to the Grand Jury. He previously served in misdemeanor and juvenile units, the central felony trials unit, the career criminal unit and the special investigation division.
He began his career as a civil lawyer, but said yesterday that he was attracted to the public service aspect of prosecution and “never looked back.” He was interested in the bench for a long time, having first applied in 1995 and having done so again three years ago.
In fact, he was planning to run for an open seat in next year’s elections if the appointment had not come through, and had retained the consulting firm of Cerrell Associates Inc. for political advice. But he said he “couldn’t be more pleased” that as an appointee, he will not have to run until 2010, and then only if challenged, which rarely happens.
He does not yet know where he will be sitting, but said he was told that a criminal assignment at the Metropolitan Court, where several new judges have been assigned recently, is a possibility. That would suit him just fine, he said, since he worked there early in his career.
He added that he hopes to sworn in within a month, but that the exact timing is dependent on how long it will take to train someone to take over his grand jury duties.
Bork is a graduate of Pacific Union College in Napa County and Pepperdine University School of Law. He succeeds Judge Lois A. Smaltz, who retired.
Dohi, 42, has been a prosecutor since 1991, serving in the high tech crimes division, hardcore gang division and the major crimes division, before moving into the training section three months ago.
He grew up in the San Fernando Valley and first joined the District Attorney’s Office as a witness coordinator after graduating from Harvard University. That inspired him to become a lawyer, he told the MetNews, and he later graduated from Boalt Hall School of Law.
He fills one of the new positions created by Senate Bill 56.
Green, 60, is a founding partner in the downtown law firm Bannan, Green, Frank & Terzian, where she has worked since 1995, where she specializes in commercial litigation, primarily on the defense side.
She previously worked for Adams, Duque & Hazeltine, where she began as a secretary in 1979. She later became a paralegal, worked at the firm while attending law school at USC, and became an associate upon admission to the State Bar in 1983.
“I really felt that I had accomplished my goals as a lawyer,” she said, explaining her reasons for applying for the bench. “I’ve also become more interested in the broader aspects of the law and public service.”
She tentatively expects to be sworn in Sept. 28, she said.
Green, who is a graduate of Pasadena City College, fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Richard Neidorf. .
Downing, 48, has served as a deputy public defender since 1989. She has served as the supervising attorney in the juvenile unit and served in the felony trial unit and the juvenile misdemeanor unit as well as served as a training attorney.
She is a few weeks short of completing a three-year term on the State Bar Board of Governors and was an unsuccessful candidate for State Bar president in the board’s recent vote.
Downing earned her law degree from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She fills the other new position created by SB 56.
Feffer, 38, has been a partner with the San Marino law firm Jones & Mayer since 2005. Previously, she began as a law clerk and was an associate and then partner with Burke, Williams & Sorensen from 1992 to 2004.
Feffer earned a law degree from the USC Law Center, a master of arts degree from the USC Annenberg School for Communication, and a bachelor’s degree from UCLA. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Richard Lyman.
Lu, 39, has served as an assistant U.S. attorney since 1997 and currently serves as deputy chief in the general crimes section. Lu is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Stanford University.
She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge James Bascue. Lu is a Democrat.
Rizk, 57, has worked as an administrative law judge for the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board since 1988. Previously, she was a sole practitioner from 1983 to 1987 specializing in federal and state criminal matters.
Prior to that, Rizk served as a deputy federal public defender from 1978 to 1980 and was a staff attorney for the Center for Law and Justice from 1975 to 1977. Rizk earned a law degree from UCLA and an undergraduate degree from UCLA, and fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Jon Mayeda.
Weinbach, 62, has been a partner in the law firm Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp since 1988. Previously, he was a partner in the law firm Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon from 1985 to 1988 and held the same position at Weinbach & Greene from 1984 to 1985.
Prior to that, Weinbach was in private practice from 1979 to 1984 and was an associate for Gang, Tyre & Brown from 1978 to 1979. He also served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1975 to 1978 and as an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission from 1972 to 1975.
He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and New York University. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Alice Altoon.
Widdifield, 48, has been a commissioner since 2002. She previously was an associate, then partner, in the law firm Lightfoot, Vandevelde, Sadowsky, Medvene & Levine from 1987 to 2002.
She is a graduate of Loyola Law School and UCLA, and fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Bernard Kamins.
Bork, Dohi, Feffer, Green, and Weinbach are Republicans; Lu, Downing, and Widdifield are Democrats; Rizk is registered decline-to-state.
Appointed in other counties were Deputy District Attorney Robert A. Burlison and Efren N. Iglesia, a senior deputy county counsel, to the Monterey Superior Court; Commissioners Carol D. Codrington and Dale R. Wells to the Riverside Superior Court; Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Boessenecker to the Napa Superior Court; family and juvenile law practitioner Jennifer Conn Shirk to the Tulare Superior Court; Commissioners Douglas W. Daily and Bruce A. Young to the Ventura Superior Court; and Commissioner Molly A. Bigelow to the Shasta Superior Court.
Burlison, Iglesia, Codrington, Wells, Shirk and Bigelow are Republicans; Boessenecker, Daily and Young are Democrats.
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company