Thursday, June 5, 2008
Commission Confirms Court of Appeal Appointments
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
The Commission on Judicial Appointments yesterday unanimously confirmed three appointments to this districts Court of Appeal.
A panel made up of Chief Justice Ronald M. George, the commission’s chairperson, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr., and Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein of this district’s Div. Three, as the senior justice in this district, confirmed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appointment of Justice Robert A. Mallano as presiding justice of Div. One of this district’s Court of Appeal, and the appointments of Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Frank Y. Jackson and Patricia A. Bigelow as respective justices of this district’s Divs. Seven and Eight.
Each nominee had previously received a “well qualified” designation from the State Bar Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission, and endured good-natured ribbing from friends and colleagues at the hearings, which were held in the Supreme Court courtroom in the Ronald Reagan State Office Building in downtown Los Angeles.
Presiding Justice Roger W. Boren of this district’s Div. Two, who also serves as administrative presiding justice for the district, referred to a jockey as a metaphor to illustrate his testimony in support of Mallano’s appointment.
“Some horses are so very easy to ride to victory,” Boren explained, “It’s so easy to recommend [Mallano] and extol his virtues.”
When George asked Mallano how he felt about being equated with the steed in Boren’s analogy, Mallano replied he was “a bit like a jockey” in that he had fallen off of his bicycle and fractured his pelvis last December, but was back on his bicycle again now.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victor E. Chavez referred to Mallano’s avid bicycling and athleticism when testifying in support of Mallano. The two were high school classmates, and Chavez recounted a time when Mallano, who played football in both high school and college, intercepted a pass and ran 55 yards for a touchdown.
Chavez joked that the interception marked the “high point” in Mallano’s life, and continued, “everything went downhill from there.”
Mallano’s voice became choked when the jurist expressed his gratitude to various individuals for their support, including his wife of “45 years and 11 days,” Kathleen Mallano.
Los Angeles Superior Court Supervising Judge Thomas R. White offered testimony in support of Jackson’s appointment, joined by Presiding Justice Paul Turner of this district’s Div. Five, and R. Gregg Anderson, a real estate developer and long-time friend and neighbor of Jackson.
Jackson told the commission, at the conclusion of his testimony:
“I feel to some extent that I’ve been to my own memorial service. But I think I’m still breathing.”
Klein then asked Jackson what his middle initial stood for, and Jackson responded, “Yo.”
When Klein seemed taken aback, Jackson explained he meant no disrespect, and expounded that it came from the last name of his great grandfather’s business partner.
Justice Sandy R. Kriegler of this district’s Div. Five, retired Placer Superior Court Judge J. Richard Couzens and Los Angeles Superior Court judge Jacqueline A. Conner spoke on behalf of Bigelow, or, as Kriegler called her, “J Big Two” in honor of her father, the late M. Ross Bigelow.
M. Ross Bigelow, the original “J Big” according to Kriegler, served as a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court from 1973 to 1988.
Both Couzens and Conner commented on Patricia Bigelow’s “addiction” to Starbucks coffee, and Couzens suggested that Bigelow was responsible for two percent of the company’s gross income.
Klein told Bigelow that her father would be extraordinarily proud of her, and Bigelow too choked up as she thanked the justice.
George swore each of the newly appointed justices in immediately following the hearing.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company