Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Page 3


Balloting Underway for Superior Court Commissioner


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Ballots have been mailed to all Los Angeles Superior Court judges to fill a commissioner vacancy.

The court has had a commissioner post open since David Cowan was recently appointed a judge. Electing a commissioner to fill the opening means that the post will not be converted to a judgeship.

State law permits a limited number of vacant fulltime subordinate judicial officer positions statewide to be converted to judgeships. Because of that law, and because of budget constraints, the court held no commissioner elections between 2012 and earlier this year.

Presiding Judge David Wesley explained last year that the court would be able to fill unconverted commissioner slots with funding from the federal government under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, which enables trial courts throughout the country to appoint judicial officers to hear child support.

The court recently elected Nancy Ramirez, western regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Deputy Public Defender William L. Sadler, and Robert Palazzolo of the Glendale firm Holmes & Holmes as its first new commissioners since Nicole Bershon was elected nearly three years ago.

Bershon was subsequently appointed a judge.

Brenda Penny, a Culver City attorney who served as a probate attorney for the court, is the highest-ranked candidate on the list, according to a judicial panel that evaluated applicants.

The remaining candidates are Superior Court Managing Research Attorney Nicole Heeseman; Terry Truong, a former court referee now at the County Counselís Office; Deputy Public Defender Terrance Lewis; Deputy Alternate Public Defender Barbara McDaniel; Pasadena attorney Valerie Skeba, a former referee; Glendale sole practitioner Scott J. Nord; Los Angeles attorney J. Christopher Smith; Bellflower practitioner Maria Puente-Porras; Deputy District Attorney Latonya Hadnot Prioleau; Woodland Hills sole practitioner Michelle Short-Nagel; and Deputy Public Defender Lisa Strassner.

Also Deputy Federal Public Defender Alicia Blanco; Montebello attorney Armando Duron; Administrative Law Judge Amy C. Yerkey; court staff attorney Nichelle Blackwell; dependency court attorney Timothy Martella; Agoura Hills attorney and former referee Marilyn Mordetzky; Deputy Alternate Public Defender Michael Miller; Orange County Deputy Public Defender Sheryl Beasley; Amparo V. Sauceda; and Irvine attorney Doreen Boxer.

Martella and Truong have also had their names sent to the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation as possible judicial appointees.

Martella is married to Superior Court Judge Patricia Nieto. Miller is the son of retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Loren Miller Jr. and the brother of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robin Miller Sloan.


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