Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Bershon, Phillips Elected Superior Court Commissioners
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
Police Department Inspector General Nicole Bershon and Deputy District Attorney Eloise Phillips have been elected the newest commissioners of the Los Angeles Superior Court, officials said Friday.
Bershon fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Commissioner Nicholas Taubert last June and Phillips succeeds Commissioner Gerald Mansfield, who left the bench last June as well.
Phillips said she was “ecstatic” to have been elected, and was planning on taking her oath of office August 10 from Superior Court Judge Ron Rose, who presides over the courtroom she is currently assigned to.
She said she had “no idea” where her courtroom assignment will be, and no plans once she takes the bench except to “try to be the best judicial officer I can be.”
Attempts to reach Bershon on Friday were unsuccessful
Bershon and Phillips were the top two candidates on a list of commissioner nominees compiled by a court panel.
Under local rules, vacant commissioner positions are filled by a vote of the judges from this list, and though the ranking order is not binding, all commissioners chosen in recent years have been selected in this sequence.
Bershon was at the head of the line in May when an election was held to succeed Commissioner Murray Gross after his retirement in last year, but asked to have her name withdrawn from consideration for that position. Dependency attorney Emma Castro, whose name was next on the list, was elected May 20. Bershon’s name was reinstated on the ballots sent out to judges last month.
She was appointed by the Board of Police Commissioners to serve as the inspector general last May according to the agency’s website. Before this, Bershon had served as an assistant inspector general since 2002, heading the Complaint Intake and Review Section, as well as the Special Projects Unit.
She graduated from Princeton University before going to law school at UCLA, where she co-founded the UCLA Women’s Law Journal and served as its co-editor in chief.
Upon her admission to the State Bar in 1992, Bershon joined Stutman, Treister & Glatt, and then moved on to Irell & Manella.
Bershon eventually left private practice to join the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office where she worked in the criminal and police divisions before joining the Office of the Inspector General.
She is also a past president of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and serves on the organization’s board of governors.
Phillips has been a prosecutor for the past 27 years, joining the District Attorney’s Office right after completing her legal education at Pepperdine University.
During her tenure with the office, Phillips said she has “done just about everything” and crisscrossed the county with assignments to courthouses in Long Beach, Santa Monica, Norwalk, Compton and downtown Los Angeles.
She also handled the prosecution of Dr. Peter Fisher, a former coach for tennis great Pete Sampras, for child molestation, in 2007.
Phillips attended Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey and worked as a sixth grade teacher after graduation before heading west for law school in 1980.
She is a past member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and said she currently devotes her free time to her sons’ high school band and boy scout troop.
The remaining candidates on the list, in ranked order, are:
Michael R. Diliberto, president of Advantage Arbitration and Mediation Services LLC; Deputy District Attorney Arunas A. Sodonis; Los Angeles attorney Faith Mitchell; Referee Shep Zebberman; Lancaster attorney William A. Clark; Richard L. Bissetti, an associate at Century City’s Magana, Cathcart & McCarthy; Downey criminal defense lawyer Michael LaPan; Hawthorne Deputy City Attorney Robert Kim; and Deputy Public Defender Lisa Brackelmanns.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company