Monday, July 9, 2007
Mallano, Vogel Vying for Presiding Justice Post in C.A. Div. One
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Court of Appeal Justices Robert Mallano and Miriam Vogel of this district’s Div. One are being vetted for presiding justice of that division, the METNEWS has learned.
There has been no official announcement that Presiding Justice Vaino Spencer, who turns 87 this month, is stepping down. But several appellate practitioners said they have received questionnaires asking them to evaluate Mallano or Vogel as a prospective successor.
.Those questionnaires are sent by the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, as well as by an independent committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, once the names are sent to the JNE Commission, in confidence, by the governor.
Neither of the justices could be reached Friday for comment.
Mallano, 68, was named to the court by then-Gov. Gray Davis in August 2000, after having sat continuously for nearly two years on assignment in Div. Two. He served on the South Bay Municipal Court from 1978 to 1980 and on the Los Angeles Superior Court from 1980 until his elevation to the Court of Appeal.
Prior to appointing him to the bench, then-Gov. Jerry Brown named Mallano as chairman of the commission that studied the possible formation of Peninsula County in the South Bay area—a notion later rejected by voters.
He was the Superior Court’s presiding judge in 1993, bringing all of the downtown civil courts under the “fast-track” system of individual calendaring.
Mallano graduated from Yale University, where he majored in history, and received his law degree from Boalt Hall in 1963. A Roman Catholic, he obtained a fellowship to study canon law in Rome and later served as a procurator-advocate—a type of pro bono counsel to couples seeking annulments of their marriages in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Upon returning to Los Angeles in 1964, he spent two years at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, moving among the labor, corporate, litigation and estate planning practices. He left in 1966 to become a deputy district attorney, and then started a practice with two other lawyers in 1969.
He was among the founders of the Italian American Lawyers Association in the late 1970s, and was the first member of the group to score a judicial appointment after its founding.
Vogel, 67, has been a justice since 1990. A native of New York City, she came to Los Angeles as a child and attended Santa Monica College.
She worked as a secretary and office manager while raising two sons and attending what is now Whittier College School of Law, where she graduated second in her class. She clerked for Robert Thompson, then a justice of the Court of Appeal, from 1975 to 1977 and was then in private practice with two other firms before joining what eventually became Maiden, Rosenbloom, Wintroub, Vogel & Fridkis.
Her primary areas of practice were business litigation and civil appeals.
Then-Gov. George Deukmejian appointed her to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1986 and elevated her four years later.
Both Mallano and Vogel are former METNEWS Persons of the Year. Vogel shared the honor with her husband, Charles Vogel—then president of the State Bar and later presiding justice of Div. Four of this district’s Court of Appeal, a post from which he retired in 2004—in 1990, and Mallano received it in 1993.
The elevation of Mallano or Vogel would open an associate justice vacancy, which would also have to be filled by the governor. The governor has, in recent months, sent the names of Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Victoria Chaney, Edward Ferns, and Eric Taylor, as well as U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Johnson of the Central District of California and Gregory Smith of Irell & Manella to the JNE Commission as possible appointees to the court.
Several other Superior Court judges have been considered by the JNE Commission during Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration, including Joanne O’Donnell, James Chalfant, Emilie Elias, Aurelio Munoz, Owen Lee Kwong, Peter Lichtman, Carl West, Ronald Coen, Frank Y. Jackson, William Highberger and Fumiko Wasserman.
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company