Thursday, June 26, 2008
Retiring Justice Vogel ‘Exploring Options’ on Next Move
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
Court of Appeal Justice Miriam Vogel of this district’s Div. One said she hopes that she will be remembered for the clarity of her writing and articulating the law for the benefit of the parties and their attorneys as she leaves the bench after spending nearly 18 years as an appellate court justice.
Vogel’s retirement was announced in court on Tuesday. Although she said it has been a “privilege and an honor to be a judge for 22-and-a-half years,” she told the MetNews that she was “happy and excited about starting something new and different after all these years.”
She said she is “retiring from the court, but not really retiring… in the traditional sense of the word” because she is “exploring a number of really interesting options,” but declined to elaborate. A source indicated that Vogel may be headed to private judging.
“I love the law, I have a genuine affection for it and I don’t intend to leave it, not yet anyhow,” she said.
As for the court that she leaves behind, Vogel said she hopes the governor will appoint someone to fill the vacancy created by her retirement soon. “I’d like to see [Presiding] Justice Mallano and Justice Rothschild have some help,” she said.
The jurist declined to comment on longstanding reports of animosity between her and colleagues, saying that she was “trying to leave on a high note.”
Administrative Presiding Justice Roger W. Boren said that Vogel will be missed. He called her a “fascinating” person, an “integral” part of the court, and “one of our brightest judges.”
Additionally, he also praised her track record as a law and motion judge in the Superior Court, which he called one of the more “demanding” assignments, and commended her for chairing the court’s rules committee. The chair position “has always taken somebody who is willing to work hard with some complex issues,” Boren said.
Vogel is a “very perceptive person,” and “very knowledgeable,” Boren said, but “certainly no shrinking violet.”
Boren noted that Vogel “can have a vigorous dissent,” referring to some of Vogel’s harsh criticisms in her separate opinions directed at now-retired Div. One Presiding Justice Vaino Spencer and current Presiding Justice Robert M. Mallano—both of whom Vogel was rumored to have strained relations with—but opined that “on the whole, she was actually vindicated upon review by the California Supreme Court.”
Both Spencer and Mallano decline to comment on Vogel’s retirement. Boren suggested that Vogel’s harsh words were not fueled by personal animosity, but rather the result of Vogel’s “strong feelings about a lot of things.” He said Vogel “tried her hardest to do the best she could and took her job very, very seriously.”
Boren said Vogel has “a lot of friends on the court,” and often went out of her way to make introductions for others. “She is very gracious and hospitable,” Boren said, “She will be missed by many who consider her to be a friend.”
Justice Frank Y. Jackson of Div. Seven spent about a year and a half serving on special appointment on Div. One before being elevated to the appellate court in May. He called Vogel “very bright and hardworking.”
She was always cordial to him, and they worked well together, he said.
He said he learned “a lot” working with her, like how to have a good work ethic, be thorough in his opinions, and treat every case as important.
“She was a good mentor,” he said. “It was a pleasure working in Div. One.”
James Schreier, co-head of the litigation department at Christensen, Glazer, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro in Century City, said he has known Vogel both professionally and personally for over 30 years, and had high praise for the jurist.
“She writes well, she thinks well, she’s decisive, and she works harder than anyone else I know,” Schreier said. He called her retirement a “real loss to the bench.”
Vogel’s retirement opens a second associate justice vacancy in the division, to be filled by the governor. The first was created by Mallano’s appointment as presiding justice of the division in May, following Spencer’s retirement last September.
Superior Court Judge Richard Neidorf has been serving by assignment in Div. One, and Boren said he is trying to arrange for a retired appellate court justice to temporarily fill the vacancy created by Vogel’s retirement.
Boren expressed some concern about how the division will handle its caseload with the vacancies, and said he hoped the governor would fill both vacancies as soon as possible. He said he did not know who the possible appointees would be, but said “there’s people out there.”
The governor has previously sent the names of Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Victoria Chaney, Edward Ferns, and Eric Taylor, as well as U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Johnson of the Central District of California and Gregory Smith of Irell & Manella to the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation as possible appointees to the court.
Superior Court judges whose names were sent to the JNE Commission as possible Court of Appeal appointees earlier in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration include Joanne O’Donnell, James Chalfant, Emilie Elias, Aurelio Munoz, Owen Lee Kwong, Peter Lichtman, Carl West, Ronald Coen, William Highberger and Fumiko Wasserman.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company