Thursday, January 31, 2008
Mortimer Will Not Run for New Term, Prosecutor Files for Seat
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Wendell Mortimer Jr. said yesterday he will not run for a new term, and will retire April 30.
Deputy District Attorney Thomas Rubinson became the first candidate to file for Mortimer’s seat.
Mortimer, 70, will have his last day on the bench March 19. Once his departure from the bench becomes official, he will become a private judge—he declined to say which alternative dispute resolution provider he will work for—and look for more time for his hobbies, which include boating, hiking, photography, reading, and writing, he told the MetNews.
“I’ve worked since I was in the third grade,” he explained. “I’ve [been a judge] for 12 years now and I think it’s time to move on.”
USC Law School Graduate
Mortimer is a graduate of Occidental College and USC Law School. He began his career in 1966 as an attorney for what was then the California Department of Public Works—now Caltrans—before joining Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges in 1973.
He was admitted to partnership in 1976 and remained with the firm until 1993, when he began a solo trial practice. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocacy.
Then-Gov. Pete Wilson appointed him to the Superior Court in 1995. He previously sat in Pomona and is currently assigned to Central Civil West.
Rubinson, 43, said he had retained the consulting firm of Cerrell Associates Inc. to guide his campaign for the seat. He has been with the office for 17 years and currently holds a management position in the Bureau of Branch and Area Operations.
He previously served as deputy-in-charge of the preliminary hearing unit in downtown Los Angeles, overseeing 12-15 lawyers plus support staff. He had earlier worked in the Hardcore Gang Unit, handling 45 murder cases and trying dozens of other felony cases, he said.
“I really do have an overriding desire to see justice done in these cases,” he said, explaining his motivation t run for the bench. “I’ve seen too many cases in which the prosecutors or defense attorneys are not doing what they should be doing.”
‘Person of Integrity’
He described himself as “a person of integrity,” who can “work well with people and can create a courtroom environment that would make people feel comfortable...and set the right tone.”
After conferring with his consultant, he said, “I understand what’s required to run a serious campaign.” He said he is prepared to spend between $200,000 to $250,000.
Rubinson is a past president of the Criminal Justice Section of the County Bar and a graduate of Duke University and UCLA School of Law. His name has previously been sent by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation as a possible appointee to the court.
In other election news yesterday:
•Deputy District Attorney Pat Connolly, 43, said he had filed a declaration of intent to run for the seat of Judge Gibson W. Lee after Lee—who did not return a MetNews phone call—assured Connolly he would not run and encouraged him to enter the race.
A prosecutor since 1992, Connolly primarily handles homicides at the Long Beach courthouse. He said he would put $125,000 in the campaign fund “to start,” and that several of his friends have offered to host fundraisers. “It’s actually been kind of overwhelming,” he said, adding that he has not yet had time to contact potential consultants.
A graduate of the University of San Diego, where he played on the baseball team as an undergraduate and earned his law degree as well, he has been at the Long Beach courthouse for four years in his present assignment and has previously worked in Compton and downtown Los Angeles.
•Deputy District Attorney Christian R. Gullon, who took out papers to run for the seat of retired Judge Bradford Andrews before the governor filled it by appointment and eliminated the possibility of an election, said he would “wait and see” about getting into another race, but that he is disinclined to run against a fellow deputy district attorney or a court commissioner.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company