Monday, January 28, 2008
Governor Schwarzenegger Names Four to L.A. Superior Court
By Kenneth Ofgang , Staff Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday named Deputy District Attorneys Kathleen O. Diesman and Rogelio G. Delgado, Deputy Public Defender Mark E. Windham, and entertainment lawyer Louis M. Meisinger to judgeships in the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Diesman, 56, said she has not yet made swearing-in plans because of a vacation she previously scheduled for next month. She is currently handling Proposition 36 cases in downtown Los Angeles after having previously specialized in child abuse prosecutions for several years.
“I’ve been interested in the bench for a long time,” she explained, but waited to apply until she felt she had acquired “the experience and maturity to take on that challenge.”
The Chicago native earned her law degree at DePaul University in that city, after having earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Toronto and taught in the Canadian city’s schools.
She joined a large insurance defense firm in Chicago and came to Los Angeles for what was to be a temporary assignment in the firm’s Los Angeles office, but decided to stay when the opportunity presented itself.
She joined the District Attorney’s Office in 1990, she said, because she had only been able to try one case in civil practice and wanted to spend more time in court. She said she had “no real preference” as to an assignment, and that she would be comfortable in a criminal, civil, or juvenile courtroom, having learned a good deal about the workings of the juvenile courts while prosecuting child abusers.
She fills the vacancy created by the Dec. 15 retirement of Judge Charles L. Peven.
Longtime Deputy District Attorney
Delgado, 46 has served as a deputy district attorney since 1989. Prior to that, he was a law clerk at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office from 1988 to 1989.
He is a graduate of UC Irvine and UCLA School of Law, and is currently assigned to the Justice System Integrity Division. He fills the vacancy created last year by the retirement of Judge Haley J. Fromholz.
Windham, 48, joined the Public Defender’s Office in 1985 after practicing in the Bay Area, primarily in employment and civil rights law, for about 18 months. He has been a head deputy since 2000 and currently manages the DNA unit.
His previous assignments, he told the METNEWS Friday, included a great deal of trial work, including a number of capital cases cases. He has also trained deputy public defenders and his work has covered “all phases of the criminal process,” he said, including mental health issues.
He applied for the bench two years ago, he explained, in part because of a desire to return to the courtroom after several years as an administrator. “I care a lot about justice,” he added in describing his motivation for seeking a judicial appointment. “I want to transcend advocacy and really do justice.”
Windham, who said he expects to be sworn in within two weeks, joins a small number of criminal defense lawyers who have been appointed as judges. “The governor deserves credit,” he said, for appointing “people from diverse backgrounds, professional as well as ethnic and social.”
A graduate of UC Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law, he fills the vacancy created by the retirement last year of Judge Andria K. Richey.
Meisinger, 65, has served as an attorney and senior advisor for Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton since 2003 and is also an arbitrator and mediator with ADR Services.
A graduate of UCLA and its law school, he practiced with three local firms from 1968 to 1975 before co-founding Hill, Wynne, Troop & Meisinger, an entertainment law firm in which he headed the litigation practice.
He left the firm to serve as executive vice president and general counsel of The Walt Disney Company in 1998, overseeing a staff of close to 300 lawyers worldwide, then rejoined several of his former partners to help Sheppard Mullin launch its entertainment and media practice.
His departure from Disney coincided with the settlement of a whistleblower suit brought by former Disney executive Judy Denenholz, who alleged she was wrongfully terminated after clashing with Meisinger over her refusal to sign off on Disney’s response to an IRS audit.
Disney said at the time that Meisinger’s departure was unrelated to the settlement.
Meisinger fills the created by the Jan. 7 retirement of Judge Bradford L. Andrews and will cause cancellation of the scheduled election for that seat. Deputy District Attorney Christian Gullon, who had taken out papers to run for the seat, could not be reached for comment.
The governor Friday also appointed eight people to superior court judgeships in other counties— Miriam Morton, a part-time juvenile court office in the San Bernardino Superior Court, as a judge of that court; Tulare attorney Gary Johnson to the Tulare Superior Court; trial attorney Gerrit W. Wood to the Sacramento Superior Court; former federal prosecutor Lucy H. Koh to the Santa Clara Superior Court; Baker & McKenzie partner Katherine A. Bacal and Deputy District Attorney William C. Gentry Jr. to the San Diego Superior Court; and Michael B. Donner, co-founder of a Riverside law firm, and Deputy District Attorney Anthony R. Villalobos to the Riverside Superior Court.
Diesman, Delgado, Windham, Morton, Koh, and Bacal are Democrats; Meisinger, Wood, Gentry, Johnson and Donner are Republicans; Villalobos is registered decline-to-state.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company