Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, May 19, 2008


Page 1


Governor Names Mallano Presiding Justice, Fills Other C.A. Slots


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday nominated Acting Presiding Justice Robert Mallano as presiding justice of Div. One of this district’s Court of Appeal.

He also nominated Los Angeles of Superior Court Judges Frank Y. Jackson and Tricia Bigelow as associate justices in Divs. Seven and Eight respectively, and appointed 17 persons to superior court vacancies around the state.

If confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, Mallano, 68, would fill the vacancy created last September by the retirement of Vaino Spencer.

Mallano was named to the Court of Appeal by then-Gov. Gray Davis in August 2000 after having sat continuously for nearly two years on assignment in Div. Two. He also previously 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.

He has served as Div. One’s acting presiding justice since Spencer’s retirement.

Prior Experience

Prior to appointing Mallano to the bench, then-Gov. Jerry Brown named him as chairman of the commission that studied the possible formation of Peninsula County in the South Bay area—a notion later rejected by voters. Mallano was also the Superior Court’s presiding judge in 1993 and 1994, bringing all of the downtown civil courts under the “fast-track” system of individual calendaring, and was MetNews Person of the Year that year.

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 marriage—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 with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and then started a practice with two other lawyers in 1969.

He was among the founding members 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.

Appointment Raises Question

Mallano’s appointment raises a question as to the plans of Justice Miriam A. Vogel. Sources have indicated that she was also a candidate for the appointment, and it was rumored that Vogel—who has often had a chilly relationship with Mallano—would consider retiring if she did not receive it.

Vogel could not be reached for comment, nor could the division’s other justice, Frances Rothschild.

Mallano told the MetNews that he was “very happy” with the appointment, and said that even though the division has been doing well since he got there at operating on a timely basis, he did have some ideas about how to improve performance. He declined to elaborate, however, saying that he wanted to discuss the ideas with his colleagues on the court first.

Spencer said of her successor that his was a “wonderful, wonderful appointment,” and presiding justices from other divisions in this district similarly expressed pleasure at the announcement.

Presiding Justice Roger W. Boren of Div. Two, who also serves as administrative presiding justice for this district, said that he was “elated we got an appointment, and more than elated that it’s Justice Robert M. Mallano.”

Noting that he was “biased” because Mallano was a “good friend,” Boren predicted that Div. One, under Mallano’s direction, will be “well organized and continue to do as they always have done” which is to say, they “have a great turnaround time and don’t carry a large backlog.”

Presiding Justice Candace Cooper of Div. Eight said that she “sure he will do a fine job,” while Presiding Justice Norman L. Epstein of Div. Four said that he looked forward to working with Mallano, calling him an “able jurist.”

Presiding Justice Dennis M. Perluss of Div. Seven  said “the division is in very good hands,” and he praised Mallano’s “tremendous breadth of experience both as an administrator and as a judge.”

Presiding Justice Paul A. Turner of Div. Five remarked that Mallano had taken the “second best job” in state government, joking that the “best job” is being an associate justice.

Cooper also praised the appointment to Div. Eight of Bigelow, who, if confirmed, will fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Paul Boland last September.

Cooper said that her division was “delighted” to have Bigelow join them, and said that the appointee had “an excellent reputation both for her academic and intellectual skills and also as being a good collegial coworker” that would make her a “perfect fit”

Bigelow, 47, has served as a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court since 1998, having previously served from 1995 to 1998 as a judge of the Los Angeles Municipal Court and, from 1986 to 1995, as a state deputy attorney general. Her father, the late M. Ross Bigelow, was a Los Angeles Superior Court judge from 1973 to 1988.

She attended college at California State University, Fullerton, and law school at Pepperdine University School of Law.

Perluss similarly also expressed pleasure over the appointment of Jackson, who, if confirmed, will be joining Div. Seven to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Earl Johnson Jr. in October.

Noting that Jackson has been serving as a judge pro tem in Div. One “for a significant period of time,” Perluss commented that “not only do we have a new colleague, but an experienced new colleague which will help us tremendously.”

Jackson, 59, of Palmdale, has served as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge since 1993. From 1990 to 1993, he served as an Antelope Municipal Court judge, and, from 1973 to 1990, worked as an attorney for the law firm Cosgrove, Michelizzi, Schwabacher, Ward & Jackson.

He attended Antelope Valley College and the University of Nevada, Reno, and graduated from McGeorge School of Law.

Schwarzenegger also announced the appointment of new judges to the Kern, Monterey, Orange, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Ventura Superior Courts.

However, he did not announce any appointments to the    Los Angeles Superior Court, which is now expected to experience three vacancies due to the elevations of Jackson and Bigelow, and because Schwarzenegger’s appointee to the Sacramento Superior Court is current    Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elena J. Duarte.

Duarte, 42, told the MetNews that she had requested a new appointment from the governor in order to spend more time with her family.

She said that her husband had been transferred to Sacramento as part of his job working for federal law enforcement, and that she had sought the change when her husband’s transfer became permanent.

Duarte has served on the Los Angeles Superior Court since April of last year. She was an assistant U.S. attorney—first in the Eastern District of California and then in the Central District—from 1994 to 2007 and she was a trial attorney in the Department of Justice Criminalk Division in Washington, D.C. from 1992 to 1994.

She attended college at USC and graduated from law school at Stanford.

Schwarzenegger’s other superior court appointments are as follows:

Kern Superior Court—the governor appointed Michael E. Dellostritto, John S. Somers and Louie L. Vega;

Monterey Superior Court—the governor appointed Thomas W. Wills;

Orange Superior Court—the governor appointed Jacki C. Brown, Donald F. Gaffney, Bob Gannon, Kim R. Hubbard and James L. Waltz;

Santa Clara Superior Court—the governor appointed Jacqueline M. Arroyo and L. Michael Clark;

Santa Cruz Superior Court—the governor appointed Timothy Volkmann;

Ventura Superior Court—the governor appointed Kevin G. DeNoce and David R. Worley.

Yolo Superior Court—the governor appointed Janet Gaard and Paul K. Richardson.

Mallano, Dellostritto, Vega, Wills, Duarte, Arroyo, DeNoce, and Gaard are Democrats. Jackson, Bigelow, Somers, Brown, Gannon, Hubbard, Waltz, Worley, and Richardson are Republicans.

Clark, Gaffney, and Volkmann are unaffiliated.


Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company