Monday, April 22, 2002
Davis Names One Each to San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo Courts
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Gov. Gray Davis announced on Friday the appointment of two Deputy District Attorneys as judges in San Luis Obispo and San Joaquin Superior Courts.
Dodie A. Harmon, a San Luis Obispo prosecutor, was appointed to San Luis Obispo Superior Court. San Joaquin prosecutor and County Bar Association President Franklin Stephenson will serve on San Joaquin Superior Court.
Both Harmon and Stephenson were appointed to positions newly created in January 2001.
Harmon, 45, has been a felony prosecutor with the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s office since 1992. She’s served on the office’s gang task force for five years handling numerous multiple defendant cases.
From 1984 until 1992, she served as a Riverside County Deputy District Attorney where she worked on officer involved shootings, the homicide panel and in other divisions.
“I’ve been through practically every division of the D.A.’s office,” Harmon said.
Harmon graduated from the University of West Los Angeles with six certificates in specialization as a paralegal and earned her juris doctorate from Southwester School of Law in 1983.
She worked as a paralegal from 1977 to 1984 at several business law firms including Graham & James in Los Angeles as well as for the now-retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas Schneider when he was in private practice at Mazirow, Schneider, et al.
Among her activities outside of the District Attorneys office, which she said has kept her busy, Harmon lists chairing the Riverside high school Mock Trial program and coaching youth basketball and hockey.
She said that while she did not expect the appointment she “feels blessed” for it.
Alex Traverso at Davis’ office called her a “veteran prosecutor” with a “judicial temperament” whose experience “brings a lot to the table.”
Harmon told the MetNews because she has cases to close an exact date has not been determined for her to take the bench. She speculated that she would be sworn in around May 8.
Stephenson, 41, has worked as both law clerk and prosecutor at the San Joaquin District Attorney’s office.
While attending Humphrey’s College School of Law, where he earned his juris doctorate in 1988, Stephenson was a law clerk. After passing the bar he went into private practice with a Stockton law firm, Rishwain, Hakeem & Ellis.
In 1994, Stephenson returned to the District Attorney’s office where he is most recently the Supervising Deputy of the Special Operations division and oversees the Consumer and Business Affairs, Narcotic Asset Forfeiture, Insurance Fraud and Environmental Protection, and other units of his office.
Stephenson credits the appointment to his diverse experience, trying both criminal and civil cases. As well as being a new father, he is the newest San Joaquin County Bar Association President.
Stephenson also serves on the boards of Better Business Bureau, Crime Victims United of California, and the Mary Graham Children’s Shelter Foundation.
Traverso commented that Stephenson’s “experience and involvement. . .made him a great representative of the community. . .fitting for the San Joaquin position.”
Stephenson said he is “very excited and honored” at the opportunity which he called “a goal of mine for my life because I can help more people on the bench.” He told the MetNews that he will be sworn in May 10.
Both appointees will receive an annual salary of $136,224.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company