Thursday, September 11, 2014
Catherine D. Purcell Appointed Presiding Judge of State Bar Court
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Catherine D. Purcell has been appointed presiding judge of the State Bar Court, the court said yesterday.
Purcell took office Tuesday and will serve to Oct. 31, 2018, the court said in a release. Previously a review judge, she fills a post vacated by Joann M. Remke, who was named by Gov. Jerry Brown to chair the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
Acting Presiding Judge Judith Epstein has returned to her review judge position, the court said. Purcell was appointed to the presiding judge post by the state Supreme Court, which also named Hearing Judge Richard A. Honn of Los Angeles as a review judge for the term ending Oct. 31, 2020.
Purcell has been a review judge since 2008. She was a Kern Superior Court judge from 2001 until she joined the State Bar Court, having previously worked as a deputy district attorney in Kern County, as a civil lawyer, and as a law clerk to then-Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas.
Purcell, who is also a registered nurse and public health nurse, holds an undergraduate degree from California Lutheran College and a law degree from Pepperdine University, from which she graduated in 1985,
Honn has been a hearing judge since 2003. One of the cases he has heard during that time was that of prominent Beverly Hills attorney Richard I. Fine.
In 2007, Honn recommended that Fine be disbarred for filing a stream of disqualification motions and other papers containing what Honn found to be false and frivolous charges regarding members of the state bench.
Honn said Fine’s “remarkable academic and professional background” did not justify his “improper and vindictive” reactions to adverse rulings in litigation. His recommendation was subsequently adopted by the Review Department and the state Supreme Court.
At the time of his appointment as hearing judge, Honn was a partner in the downtown law firm of Honn Kasai LLP. He had been in private practice since graduating from Loyola Law School in 1978, and had been a lecturer in clinical finance and business economics at USC’s Marshall School of Business since 1981.
He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and Loyola Law School, and holds a master’s degree in public administration from UCLA, and was a volunteer mediator and judge pro tem, and a hearing officer for various hospitals in cases involving physician peer review.
His name was previously sent by Brown to the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation as a possible appointee to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
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