A report on where

Two More Candidates Join Race for Superior Court Seats in Next Year’s Elections...Ninth Circuit Issues Mandate in Case of Attorney Convicted of Helping Client Obstruct SEC Probe...July 23 Hearings Set for C.A. Nominees

Judicial Elections

The campaign for judicial offices on the June 2016 ballot received an early start in January when Deputy District Attorneys Debra Archuleta, David Berger, Steven Ipson, and Taly Peretz filed paperwork in order to begin raising campaign funds. They have since been joined by business litigator Aaron Weissman; Sydne S. Michel, a lawyer in the Redondo Beach City Attorney’s Office; and Deputy District Attorney Susan Jung Townsend.

Judges, Lawyers Under Scrutiny

David Tamman
Suspended Attorney

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its mandate on June 18, finalizing its April 3 affirmance of Tamman’s 2012 conviction.
Tamman, a former partner of Nixon Peabody LLP, was sentenced to seven years in prison on one count of conspiring to obstruct justice, five counts of altering documents, one count of being an accessory after the fact to his client’s mail and securities fraud crimes, and three counts of aiding and abetting his client’s false testimony before the SEC.
The panel rejected arguments that Tamman’s jury waiver should not have been accepted because he was under the influence of several psychotropic drugs at the time, that the guidelines sentencing range was erroneously calculated, and that hearsay evidence was improperly admitted at trial.
Tamman’s client, former fund manager and radio personality John Farahi, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for running the scheme, which involved false promises that investors’ money—more than $24 million was collected, prosecutors said—would be invested in corporate bonds backed by the Troubled Assets Relief Program. The scheme largely targeted members of Los Angeles’ Iranian-American Jewish community.
Tamman, who left Nixon Peabody while under investigation by the SEC, is suing the firm, contending in his complaint that he was “thrown under the bus” so that his partners could get their hands on his $1.5 million book of business. The firm contends it acted properly in cooperating with the agency’s investigation.
Tamman’s interim suspension from the State Bar took effect Feb. 18, 2013. An additional suspension for not paying bar dues took effect July 2, 2013.

Judiciary: Vacancies, Appointments

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

There are no vacancies.


Judge Audrey B. Collins retired Aug. 1 to join the state Court of Appeal.

There are no vacancies.

Second District

Gov. Jerry Brown last Friday nominated Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin to Div. Three of this district’s Court of Appeal. If confirmed, he will fill a seat that has been vacant since Justice Walter Croskey died last August.
Three candidates nominated by Brown to fill other vacancies face confirmation hearings July 23. Former Justice Elwood Lui was nominated to fill a vacancy that exists in Div. One as a result of the elevation of Frances Rothschild to presiding justice; White House attorney LaMar Baker was nominated to Div. Five, where he would succeed Justice Orville Armstrong, who retired July 31, 2013 and died Dec. 22 of last year; and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John L. Segal was nominated to succeed Justice Frank Jackson, who retired from Div. Seven June 30, 2013.
Vacancies remain in Div. Seven, due to the March 31 retirement of Justice Fred Woods, and Div. Six, from which Justice Paul Coffee retired Jan. 31, 2012.
Among those whose names have been sent to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation as possible appointees to the court are Los Angeles attorneys Kent Richland and Bradley Phillips; Ventura Superior Court Judge Tari Cody; Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Rita Miller, Russell Kussman, Richard Rico, Helen Bendix and Sanjay Kumar; and Southwestern Law School professor Christopher Cameron.
The following Los Angeles Superior Court judges have been temporarily assigned to the court: Carl H. Moor to Div. One through August; Ann I. Jones to Div. Three through August; Richard H. Kirschner to Div. Five through July; Mary H. Strobel to Div. Seven through August 15; Segal to Div. Seven from July 6 to July 22; and Sam Ohta to Div. Eight through August.

Seats in other districts are filled.

Los Angeles Superior Court

There are vacancies as a result of the retirements last year of Judges Antonio Barreto Jr. Sept. 5, Steven Ogden Sept. 24, James Steele Sept. 30, and Leslie A. Dunn Nov. 10; the elevations of Judge Brian Hoffstadt on Aug. 28 of last year and Judge Lee Edmon on Jan. 5 of this year to the Court of Appeal; and this year’s retirements of Judges Thomas White Feb. 19; Ronald Rose March 20; and Patrick Hegarty and Patricia Schnegg March 31, Arthur Jean, Owen Kwong, and Ronald Skyers April 30, and Leland Harris May 8.
Judge Jan Pluim died June 28.
Judge Alan Goodman is retiring July 30 and Judge Thomas McKnew July 31.
Among those whose names have been sent to the JNE Commission as possible appointees to judgeships are Los Angeles attorney Lisa Mattern, Deputy Public Defender David Hazami, Century City lawyer Josh Wayser, Superior Court counsel Brett Bianco; Beverly Hills attorney Edward Tabash; Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Songhai Miguda-Armsted; Los Angeles attorney Timothy Dillon; South Pasadena attorney Mark S. Priver; Deputy District Attorneys Karen Borzakian, Candace Foy Smith, Leonard Torrealba, Kathleen Tuttle and Brentford Ferreira; Court of Appeal staff attorneys Kenneth E. Roberson and Kim Nguyen; Superior Court Commissioners Collette Serio, Marilyn Kading Martinez, Robert Kawahara, Alan Rubin, Emma Castro, Jane Godfrey, Sharon Lewis Miller, Mark Zuckman, Dennis Mulcahy, Terry Truong and Kenneth Taylor; State Bar Court Judge Richard Honn; Deputy County Counsel Julie Ann Silva; Glendale attorney Kenneth Wright; Los Angeles attorneys Timothy Martella and Angel Navarro; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Wesley Hsu.
Latonya Hadnot Prioleau and Michelle Short-Nagel were elected commissioners in balloting that ended June 15.
Commissioner Marshall Rieger retired March 28. Commissioner Loren DiFrank retired Feb. 28. Commissioner Diana Summerhayes retired May 27 and Commissioner Anthony Drewry May 29.
Commissioner John Murphy retired June 17 and Commissioner David Bianchi is retiring today.

Legislation of Interest to the Legal Community

The Legislature took the following action on bills of interest to the legal community in June.

AB 60 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, which would permit attorneys to charge fees for assisting immigrants in obtaining relief from deportation under President Obama’s recent executive order. Existing law prohibits such fees from being charged in the absence of federal legislation authorizing such relief. As amended, the bill applies to “any future executive action or order that authorizes an undocumented immigrant who either entered the United States without inspection or who did not depart after the expiration of a nonimmigrant visa, to attain a lawful status under federal law.” The bill was signed into law by the governor June 17.

AB 87 by Assemblymember Mark Stone, D-Santa Cruz, which, as amended, would prohibit the use of peremptory challenges to remove jurors based on ethnic group identification, age, genetic information, disability, or any other characteristic as to which discrimination is prohibited by statute. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee June 9 by a vote of 6-2, and passed the full Senate June 25.

AB 182 by Assemblymember Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, which would broaden the scope of the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 by allowing courts to create a remedy for racially polarized voting within local government districts, as well as within jurisdictions that vote at-large. The bill passed the Assembly May 11 by a vote of 53-25 and was sent to the Senate, where it was amended June 22.

AB 202 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, which would grant employee status to cheerleaders for professional sports teams. The bill was ordered to third reading in the Senate June 23.

AB 249 by Assemblymember Jay Obernolte, R-Big Bear Lake, which would bar a criminal defendant from bringing an appeal based solely on an assessment of fines, fees, or other monetary exactions, unless the issue was first raised in the trial court, by post-sentencing motion if necessary. As amended, the bill would permit the motion to be made informally, in writing, and would also permit informal, written motions to correct errors in the calculation of sentencing credits. An amendment specifying that the trial court retains jurisdiction to correct errors in the calculation of monetary assessments after an appeal has been taken was approved April 13. The bill passed the Assembly April 23 by a vote of 78-0 and was sent to the Senate, where it passed the Public Safety Committee June 9 by a vote of 7-0 and was advanced to third reading.

AB 256 by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, which would extend the criminal statute regarding falsification of evidence to cover the destruction or concealment of an electronic record for the purpose of keeping it from being used in court. The bill passed the Assembly May 11 by a vote of 79-0 and was sent to the Senate, where it passed the Public Safety Committee June 23with amendments, by a vote of 7-0, and was re-referred to the Appropriations Committee.

AB 703 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, which would establish minimum qualifications for the appointment of attorneys in dependency cases. The bill passed the Assembly April 27 by a vote of 78-0 and was sent to the Senate, where the Public Safety Committee approved it June 9 by a vote of 5-1 and re-referred it to the Appropriations Committee, which placed it on the suspense file June 22.

AB 1028 by Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, which would eliminate the prohibition against the administration of oaths and affirmations by former judges who retired due to disability. As amended, all former judges—unless removed from office by the Commission on Judicial Performance—would be allowed to administer oaths after obtaining a certificate from the CJP declaring the ex-judge does not suffer from an impairment affecting the ability to administer oaths. The bill passed the Assembly June 2 by a vote of 78-0, and was sent to the Senate, where it was referred to the Judiciary Committee.

SB 134 by Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, which would grant the State Bar explicit authority to collect voluntary payments to support a student loan repayment program for public interest lawyers. The bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee May 28 by a vote if 7-0, was amended and passed by the Senate June 3 by a vote of 37-0, and was send to the Assembly, where it was amended June 24.

SB 227 by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, which, as amended, would bar the use of the grand jury to investigate killings by police officers, except where the investigation is instigated by a grand jury member, rather than the district attorney. The bill passed the Senate in May 7 by a vote of 23-12 and was sent to the Assembly, where it passed the Public Safety Committee June 16 by a vote of 5-2.

SB 504 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Los Angeles, which would ease requirements for the sealing of juvenile delinquency records. The bill passed the Senate June 2 by a vote of 25-13, and was sent to the Assembly where it was referred to the Public Safety Committee June 18.

SB 682 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, which would limit the authority of trial courts to privatize services previously performed by employees. As amended May 5, the bill would apply only to a new contract, not the renewal or extension of an existing one. The bill passed the Senate June 2 by a vote of 24-14 and was sent to the Assembly, where it was passed by the Judiciary Committee June 23 by a vote of 7-3 and re-referred to the Appropriations Committee.

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