Monday, September 24, 2001
Judges Elect Jeffrey Marckese a Superior Court Commissioner
By ROBERT GREENE, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court judges have selected Jeffrey Marckese, a full-time court referee sitting in Compton, to fill the first of three vacant slots for court commissioner.
Ballots were counted Friday in a contest among 35 applicants to join a team of nearly 150 commissioners—bench officers hired by the court’s judges to handle preliminary matters and, by stipulation, motions and trials.
Marckese was the only candidate to garner a majority vote, which is required for election in the first round of commissioner balloting. Judges will vote in a second round next month, choosing from the 34 remaining names. This time the top two finishers will become commissioners, whether or not they receive majority votes.
Marckese’s victory was no surprise. The panel of judges that selected the finalists ranked him first among about 200 applicants who sought the three positions.
Family Law Practice
He became a referee in 1997 after closing a family law practice that spanned 15 years. In the final years of his practice he mostly defended parents involved in child support litigation, and he headed a panel of lawyers generally referred to as FLIP—the Family Law Indigent Paternity panel.
“My practice was growing, and I was earning a good living,” Marckese said in a 2000 interview. “But it was grueling. It was pretty heavy stuff. I was finding it hard to sleep at night. I know I’ve extended my life 10 years by winding down my practice and taking this job.”
Referees are appointed by the court’s presiding judge as bench officers to hear juvenile court matters. They may also hear other matters on stipulation by counsel, and Marckese has been hearing family law cases.
Referees often retain law practices while working part-time at a rate of $433.31 per hour. For full-time referees like Marckese, that amounts to $113,094—the same salary Marckese will earn as a commissioner.
Superior Court judges earn $133,095.
A native of Cleveland, Marckese graduated from Ohio University, then moved to California and enrolled in Glendale University College of Law. He worked for an attorney on Sixth Street west of downtown while in school, then joined the practice full-time when he passed the bar exam in 1982.
He lives in Burbank, with his wife and their son and daughter.
Marckese ran for judge last year and was rated “well-qualified” by the Los Angeles County Bar Association but was defeated by Katherine Mader. He has said he has applied for judicial appointment and has not ruled out another run for the office.
The second round of commissioner balloting is to be completed Oct. 18, with ballots counted the next day.
Judges will vote for two candidates. Names are listed on the ballot in the order in which they were ranked by the judges’ Commissioner Examination Committee.
Marckese’s election moves Referee S. Robert Ambrose to the top of the ballot, followed by state Deputy Attorney General Sanjay T. Kumar, Referee Mitchell Beckloff, Deputy District Attorney Scott Michael Gordon, Los Angeles attorney Robert Kawahara, Referee Melissa Widdifield, Deputy District Attorney Diana Summerhayes, Superior Court staff attorney William Dodson, LaVerne attorney Stanford Reichert and Referee Jane Godfrey in the top 10.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company