Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, November 7, 2008


Page 1


Chief Judge Stotler to Step Down, Be Succeeded by Collins


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Chief U.S. District Judge Alicemarie Stotler will take senior status Jan. 5, and will be succeeded in the chief judge’s position by Judge Audrey Collins, court officials said yesterday.

Senior judges hear partial caseloads; a judge may assume that status, rather than retire outright, anytime after age 65 with 15 years of service or at age 70 after 10 years. Stotler, 66, has served as chief judge since 2005 and has spent over 24 years on the bench

By stepping down four years before she would have had to relinquish the post, Stotler creates an opportunity for Collins, 63. Federal law provides that the chief judge of a district or circuit be succeeded by the senior member of the court among those active judges who are less than 65 years of age and have never previously served as chief judge.

When Stotler steps down, there will be two active judges with greater senority than Collins. But Manuel Real is 84 and has previously served as chief judge, and Stephen Wilson is 66. 

Stotler earned her undergraduate and law degrees from USC in 1964 and 1967 respectively, before becoming a deputy district attorney for Orange County. After three years in private practice with her husband—James A. Stotler, who went on to become an Orange Superior Court  judge—Stotler was tapped for the Orange County Harbor Municipal Court bench by then Gov-Jerry Brown.

Stotler served as a justice pro tempore in the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Div. Two in San Bernardino in 1977, and one year later, Brown elevated her to the Orange Superior Court.

In 1983, Stotler returned to private practice with her husband until then-President Ronald Reagan named her to the Central District bench in 1984.

Collins graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Howard University in 1967, and earned her master’s degree in government and public administration from American University in 1969.

She graduated Order of the Coif from UCLA’s law school in 1977, and joined the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles as an assistant attorney.

One year later, Collins became a deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County. She served as the head deputy in the Torrance branch office from 1987-1988, assistant director of the Bureau of Central and Special Operations from 1988-1992, assistant district attorney from 1992-1994, and deputy general counsel for the Office of the Special Advisor to the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners in 1992.

At the time then-President Bill Clinton nominated Collins to the bench in 1994, she was the highest ranking African American, and third highest ranked administrator, in the District Attorney’s Office.

Neither Stotler nor Collins returned a MetNews phone call.


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