Monday, August 26, 2002
Governor Davis Names Four to Los Angeles Superior Court
By ROBERT GREENE, Staff Writer
Four new judges were named Friday to the Los Angeles Superior Court as Gov. Gray Davis continued his brisk pace of August judicial appointments.
UCLA law professor John Shepard Wiley Jr., Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlaine F. Olmedo, and civil litigators Mark A. Juhas and Steven J. Kleifield were appointed to what is generally regarded as the world’s largest trial court.
The appointment of Wiley, 49, comes just a few months after the appointment to the same court of his wife, Judge Anne Egerton. Wiley said her experience has given him some insight into the court and life on the bench.
“I hear about it in the evening and it makes me jealous,” he said.
Wiley is well regarded as a legal scholar and expert in antitrust, intellectual property and criminal law. He came to the UCLA faculty after clerking for Judge Frank M. Coffin of the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Maine and then for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr.
Already an accomplished professor in 1990, he interrupted his academic life with a four-year stint as a beginning-level assistant U.S. attorney because, he said, “I wanted to see some juries.”
While a federal prosecutor, one of his supervisors was Miriam Krinsky, now the director of Dependency Court Legal Services and president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
“He has an unbelievably quick mind,” Krinsky said of Wiley. “He can grapple with very difficult concepts very quickly.”
After leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1994, Wiley served for several months for Senate Judiciary Committee, counseling members during the appointment process for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Upon his return to UCLA, Wiley was widely regarded as a top candidate for a federal judicial appointment during the Clinton Administration.
But he said Friday he applied for the Superior Court post for the same reason he took time off to work at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“The jury system is distinctively American,” he said. “I am really looking forward to learning at the Superior Court. The judge job serves the most inspiring ideals. I’m grateful to be able to serve those ideals.”
A native of Iowa, Wiley moved with his family around the country and finally settled in San Jose, where he grew up. He graduated from U.C. Davis and earned his law degree from UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law.
After his high-level clerkships, he joined the UCLA faculty in 1983.
The Commission on Judicial Performance retained him in 1995 as the lead trial and appellate counsel in the misconduct case against Tulare Superior Court Judge Howard Broadman.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson of the Central District of California appointed Wiley as a special master to assist the court in complex computer patent litigation.
Olmedo, 37, leaves a distinguished career as a prosecutor for both Los Angeles County and the Justice Department. Currently assigned to the Organized Crime Strike Force of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of RICO-related charges, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, counterfeit computer software trafficking, credit card fraud, computer chip robberies, murder, and other crimes committed by organized criminal groups.
Krinsky also supervised Olmedo and said the prosecutor has a special gift for balancing the competing needs in a prosecution.
“She was always someone who had just the right mix of wisdom and compassion for the victims and tenacity as a prosecutor that was needed,” Krinsky said. “She is certainly one that stood out as able to understand the human element. Those qualities will serve her well on the bench.”
Olmedo said she long wanted to become an attorney, but was inspired to strive for the bench because of the example of Chief U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall, whom she met while a teenager going to school with Marshall’s son.
Marshall invited Olmedo to her enrobing.
“She has always been an influence in my life,” Olmedo said of the federal judge.
Olmedo graduated from UCLA and earned her law degree from Loyola Law School. She was a Los Angeles deputy district attorney from 1989 to 1994 and served for several years in the Hardcore Gang Unit, prosecuting gang killings.
She is married to a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff, whom she met in the courthouse.
Olmedo already has spent some time on the Superior Court bench, serving as a volunteer arbitrator in civil cases and as a judge pro tempore in small claims cases.
Juhas, 47, leaves litigation practice after celebrating his 23rd anniversaryó-on Friday-óat the firm of Harrington, Foxx, Dubrow & Canter.
“I am really excited,” Juhas said Friday about his appointment.
He added that his law partners were being “remarkable” in their support of his decision to leave the firm for a bench career.
Juhas’ practice has been exclusively in civil litigation, where he specialized in insurance defense and the representation of self-insured companies. He said he typically defends cases involving allegations of personal injury, property damage, construction defects, breach of warranty, defective products, and wrongful termination.
Like Olmedo, Juhas has Superior Court bench experience, presiding as a judge pro tempore over traffic and small claims cases, uncontested divorces, and judgment debtor examinations.
He called moving to the bench “a good final step” in his legal career.
“I’m doing it for the public service part of it,” Juhas said. “I think there’s a real good that can be accomplished by being a judge.”
Juhas graduated from Colorado College, and earned his law degree from the Univeristy of Puget Sound, which was absorbed by Seattle University Law School.
Kleifield, 48, is a partner with the law firm of Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, which he joined in 1989. He is active with the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, having served on the group’s board for 10 years.
He is also a former trustee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
Kleifield has a civil trial and appellate practice emphasizing the representation of plaintiffs in personal injury, product liability, insurance bad faith, medical malpractice, wrongful termination, and discrimination cases. He serves as the managing partner of his firm’s Personal Injury/Employment Department.
Kleifield graduated from Washington University and earned his law degree from George Washington University National Law Center.
Davis has named nine Los Angeles Superior Court judges this month.
Superior Court judges earn $139,476 a year.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company