February
28,
2014

A report on where
things
stand



Candidates Jostle for Position in Countdown to Judicial Nominations Deadline...Assembly Passes Resolution Calling for Constitutional Convention to Overturn Citizens United...Judge Ronald Sohigian Exits Superior Court Bench



Judicial Elections

The deadline for the filing of declarations of intent to run in the June 3 primary passed earlier this month, with several candidates filing for multiple seats. A candidacy does not become official until nominating papers are filed, and a candidate may only be nominated for one seat.
The deadline for returning nominating papers is next Friday.
The status of candidates who filed declarations of intent, and who have filed or still could file nominating papers in the 15 races presently open to contest, were, as of Wednesday (candidates who have returned nominating papers are listed with their official ballot designations):
•Office No. 22, Amy Carter (Sex Crimes Prosecutor) and Pamala F. Matsumoto (had not returned nominating papers) for the seat of Judge Michael Solner, who retired this month.
•Office No. 48, Efrain Aceves (said he will not return nominating papers), Charles M. Calderon (has not returned nominating papers), Helen Kim (took out nominating papers Wednesday), Carol Rose (has not returned nominating papers), Andrew M. Stein (said he will run in Office No. 87), for the seat now held by Judge Ronald Sohigian, who is retiring in April.
•Office No. 54, Shannon L. Knight (Gang Homicide Prosecutor) and Debra L. Losnick (Superior Court Commissioner), for the seat now held by Judge Lance Ito.
•Office No. 61, B. Otis Felder (had not returned nominating papers), Kim (took out nominating papers Wednesday), Jacqueline H. Lewis (had not returned nominating papers), and Dayan Mathai (had not returned nominating papers), for the seat now held by Judge Michael Nash.
•Office No. 72, Chris J. Frisco (Criminal Gang Prosecutor) and Kim (had not returned nominating papers), for the seat now held by Judge Joseph DiLoreto.
•Office No. 76, Alison Matsumoto Estrada (Government Corruption Prosecutor) and Kim (took out nominating papers Wednesday), for the seat now held by Judge Harvey Giss.
•Office No. 82, Ann H. Park (had not returned nominating papers) and Kim (took out nominating papers Wednesday) for the seat now held by Judge Arthur M. Lew.
•Office No. 87, Tom Griego (Criminal Gang Prosecutor), Steven P. Schreiner (had not returned nominating papers) and Stein (had not returned nominating papers), for the seat now held by Judge Rex Heeseman.
•Office No. 90, Serena R. Murillo (Sexual Predator Prosecutor) and Kim (had not returned nominating papers) for the seat now held by Judge Daniel Lopez. •Office No. 97, Kim (took out nominating papers Wednesday), Teresa Pineda Magno (Gang Murder Prosecutor), and Songhai Miguda-Armsted (had not returned nominating papers), for the seat formerly held by Judge David Milton, who retired this month.
•Office No. 107, Emma Castro (Superior Court Commissioner), Deputy District Attorney Joan M. Chrostek (had not returned nominating papers), and Kim (took out nominating papers Wednesday), for the seat now held by Judge Bob S. Bowers Jr.
•Office No. 113, Steven Klaif (Superior Court Referee), Stacy Wiese (had not returned nominating papers), and Arnold William Mednick (had not returned nominating papers), for the seat now held by Judge R. Bruce Minto, who is retiring next month.
•Office No. 117, Carol Najera (had not returned nominating papers) and James B. Pierce (Judge of the Superior Court).
•Office No. 138, Marc A. Gibbons (had not returned nominating papers) and Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong (had not taken out nominating papers), for the seat now held by Judge Carlos Uranga.
•Office No. 157, Andrew Cooper (Gang Homicide Prosecutor) and Mednick (had not returned nominating papers), for the seat formerly held by Judge Jessica Perrin Silvers, who retired this month.


Judges, Lawyers Under Scrutiny

Craig Richman
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge

Richman, 55, was acquitted on Feb. 6 on a charge of battery, for allegedly pushing and injuring a Chatsworth neighbor who was walking her dogs.
Richman claimed his neighbor, Connie Romero, threw a bag of excrement at him after the judge asked her to find a trash can for it. But he admitted falsely telling her he was a police officer, in what he said was an effort to deescalate the situation.
The jurist, who had been temporarily relocated to Chatsworth, returned to the Criminal Justice Center downtown following the trial.
Richman was a deputy district attorney prior to being appointed to the bench by then-Gov. Arnold Schwar­zenegger.


Judiciary: Vacancies, Appointments




Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

The nominations of John B. Owens and Michelle T. Friedland were sent to the full Senate by the Judiciary Committee on Jan. 16.
Owens was nominated Aug. 1 of last year for the seat vacant since Dec. 31, 2004, when Judge Stephen Trott assumed senior status. The 41-year-old litigator is a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles and San Diego, where he headed the Criminal Division before joining Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP last year.
President Obama on Aug. 1 also nominated Friedland to the court. Like Owens, she is a Munger Tolles litigation partner. Friedland is based in San Francisco and Owens in Los Angeles.
If confirmed by the Senate, Friedland will fill a judgeship vacant since April 1, when Judge Raymond C. Fisher assumed senior status. Friedland, 41, is a former lecturer at Stanford Law School, from which she graduated in 2000.

 

There are no current vacancies, but Judge Gary Feess is taking senior status on March 13.




Justice Joyce L. Kennard, the senior member of the court, notified the governor this month that she will retire after 25 years on the high court and 28 years on the bench, effective April 5.


First District

Presiding Justice James Marchiano retired from Div. One March 15 of last year. Justice James Lambden retired from Div. Two July 31 of last year. Justice Paul Haerle said last month he expects to retire from Div. Two in mid-June.

Second District

Presiding Justice Robert Mallano is retiring from Div. One and Justice Steven Suzukawa from Div. Four last month.
Justice Frank Jackson retired from Div. Seven June 30 of last year. Justice Orville Armstrong retired from Div. Five July 31 of last year.
Justice Kathryn Doi Todd retired from Div. Two on Jan. 22 of last year. Justice Paul Coffee retired from Div. Six on Jan. 31, 2012.
Among those who names have been sent to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation as possible appointees to the court are Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Helen Bendix, Brian Hoffstadt, Lee Edmon, and Sanjay Kumar; U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins; and Southwestern Law School professor Christopher Cameron.

Third District

There has been a vacancy since Tani Cantil-Sakauye became chief justice in January 2011. Those whose names have been sent to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation reportedly include San Joaquin Superior Court Judge George Abdallah and Sacramento Superior Court Judges Thadd Blizzard, Helena Gweon, David Abbott, David DeAlba and Kevin Culhane.

Fifith District

Justice Rebecca Wiseman retired Oct. 31 of last year.

Seats in other districts are filled.

Los Angeles Superior Court

Judge Janice Croft retired Feb. 18, Judges David Milton and Michael Solner Feb. 19, and Judge Jessica Silvers Feb. 20.
Judge John Meigs is stepping down March 7. Judge R. Bruce Minto’s last day on the bench was Jan. 31. His retirement will be effective March 31.
Judge Ronald Sohigian’s last day on the bench was yesterday. His retirement will be effective April 16.
Eight vacancies created last year have not been filled. Judge Diane Wheatley retired April 16, Judge John Reid retired June 2; Judge Lawrence Mira stepped down July 24; Judge Shari K. Silver retired Aug. 1; Judge Charles W. McCoy retired Sept. 1; Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell joined the federal bench April 30; Judge Cynthia Rayvis took disability retirement Aug. 22 and died Dec. 28, and Judge Dewey L. Falcone retired May 8 and died Aug. 15.
There is a vacancy in a position that the Legislature authorized but has never funded, and seven commissioner positions have been converted to judgeships that have not yet been filled.
Among those whose names have been sent to the JNE Commission as possible judicial appointees to the court are Century City attorney Christopher Lui, Superior Court Commissioners Marilyn Kading Martinez, Robert Kawahara, Alan Rubin, Emma Castro, Jane Godfrey, Sharon Lewis Miller, Mark Zuckman, David Cowan, Dennis Mulcahy and Kenneth Taylor; Deputy District Attorneys Candace Foy Smith, Leonard Torrealba, Kathleen Tuttle and Brentford Ferreira; State Bar Court Judge Richard Honn; Deputy County Counsels Terry Truong and Julie Ann Silva; Deputy Public Defenders Enrique Monguia and Johan ElFarrah; Glendale attorney Kenneth Wright; Court of Appeal staff attorneys Kenneth E. Roberson and Kim Nguyen; Los Angeles attorneys Timothy Martella and Angel Navarro; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Wesley Hsu.
The name of Ed Chau was sent to the commission prior to his election to the state Assembly.
Commissioner Anthony Jones is stepping down after 25 years of service. His last day on the bench was Jan. 17, and his retirement is effective tomorrow.


Legislation of Interest to the Legal Community

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

AB 515 by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento. The bill would codify procedures for writ review in cases under the California Environmental Quality Act. It passed the Assembly in January by a vote of 64-4 and was referred to the Senate committees on Environmental Quality and Judiciary Feb. 6.

AJR 1, by Assemblymember Mike Gatto, D-Burbank, which would request that a federal constitutional convention be convened to consider an amendment that would overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, limit corporate personhood, and allow limitations on spending for political purposes. The measure, which passed the Assembly Jan. 30 by a vote of 51-20, was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee Feb.

SB 1429, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. The bill would express legislative intent to modify the $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. It was introduced Feb. 21.


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