A report on where

Governor Brown Signs State Bar Dues Bill, With Provision Allowing Member to Run for President in Last Year of Term...Former Judicial Candidate Chris Garcia Pleads Not Guilty to Child Pornography Charges...Superior Court Elects Three New Commissioners

Judicial Elections

Two judicial runoff elections will occur on Nov. 4:
•Office No. 61, Dayan Mathai (Gang Homicide Prosecutor) and Jacqueline H. Lewis (Superior Court Commissioner) are vying for the right to succeed Judge Michael Nash.
•Office No. 87, Andrew M. Stein (Trial Attorney) will face Tom Griego (Criminal Gang Prosecutor). The winner will succeed Judge Rex Heeseman, who retired Aug. 25 and joined JAMS as a private judge the next day.

Judges, Lawyers Under Scrutiny

David Tamman
Suspended Attorney

Tamman, a former partner at Nixon Peabody LLP, is appealing his conviction and seven-year prison sentence for obstructing two Securities and Exchange Commission investigations.
The Santa Monica resident was convicted on Nov. 13, 2012 in U.S. District Court of all 10 counts of an indictment charging him with trying to prevent the SEC from discovering that his client was running a Ponzi scheme.
Following a two-week bench trial, Tamman was found guilty of 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 the client’s false testimony before the SEC.
The 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.
Tamman, who had left the firm while the SEC was investigating, is suing Nixon Peabody, contending that he was “thrown under the bus” by the firm, so that his partners could get their hands on his $1.5 million book of business.
The firm contends that it acted properly in firing him when it learned that he was under investigation by the SEC and had not disclosed that fact to the firm, and in cooperating with the SEC.
Tamman’s interim suspension from the State Bar took effect Feb. 18 of last year. An additional suspension for not paying bar dues took effect last July 2.

Christopher Garcia
Deputy City Attorney

Garcia, a onetime candidate for Los Angeles Superior Court judge, pled not guilty Sept. 25 to charges of possession of child pornography and sending or bringing child pornography into the state for sale. He was arrested Sept. 4 at his San Pedro home and released on $40,000 bail and is due back in court Oct. 21.
The City Attorney’s Office said it had placed Garcia on administrative leave in November of last year when it became aware he was under investigation.

Justin Moongyu Lee
Suspended Attorney

Lee, 57, a State Bar member since 1997, but under suspension for nonpayment of dues since July 1 of this year, was indicted Sept. 3 by a federal grand jury in Santa Ana. He is accused of running an investment scheme that defrauded foreign investors seeking permanent resident status in the United States through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
A related complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission, filed the same day as the indictment, names Lee; his wife, Rebecca Tawwon Lee; disbarred Los Angeles attorney Thomas Edward Kent; and five companies allegedly controlled by Lee as defendants. It alleges that the defendants raised more than $11 million from investors seeking to participate in the EB-5 program, used the money improperly to finance other ventures, and lied to the government in order to conceal their failure to meet the EB-5 program’s job-creation requirements.
The civil and criminal allegations are similar to those raised in State Bar disciplinary proceedings filed against Lee in January of last year. In a 38-page response, he acknowledged responsibility for “errors and/or mistakes” in the handling of EB-5 investments, but largely denied the State Bar’s charges and sought to deflect blame to Kent.

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.

SStanford Law School professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar was confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments Aug. 28 to succeed Justice Marvin Baxter, who announced June 18 that he will not seek retention in November’s election. If confirmed by voters on Nov. 4, he will serve a full 12-year term.
Justice Joyce L. Kennard retired April 5.

First District

There is one vacancy, resulting from the retirement of Justice Paul Haerle from Div. Two.

Second District

Justice Walter Croskey of Div. Three died Aug. 29.
The Commission on Judicial Appointments, on Aug. 28, confirmed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lee S. Edmon as the successor to Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein of Div. Three. Klein did not seek retention, and her term will end Jan. 5. Edmon must be confirmed by district voters on Nov. 4.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brian Hoffstadt was confirmed Aug. 28 to succeed Justice Kathryn Doi Todd, who retired from Div. Two Jan. 22 of last year. Hoffstadt must be confirmed by district voters Nov. 4 in order to serve a full 12-year term.
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 Paul Coffee retired from Div. Six Jan. 31, 2012.
Among those whose names have been sent to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation as possible appointees to the court are Ventura Superior Court Judge Tari Cody; Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Richard Rico, John Segal, Luis Lavin, Helen Bendix, and Sanjay Kumar; and Southwestern Law School professor Christopher Cameron.

Third District

The Commission on Judicial Appointments on Aug. 28 confirmed Gov. Jerry Brown’s legal affairs secretary, Jonathan Renner, for the seat that has been vacant since Tani Cantil-Sakauye became chief justice in January 2011. District voters will decide in November whether to give him a full 12-year term, which would commence Jan. 5.

Fifith District

Justice Rebecca Wiseman retired Oct. 31 of last year.

Seats in other districts are filled.

Los Angeles Superior Court

Thirteen deputy district attorneys were elected to the court June 3 and will take office Jan. 5. Amy Carter will succeed Judge Michael Solner, who retired in February; Carol Rose will fill the seat last held by Judge Ronald Sohigian, who retired in April; Shannon L. Knight will fill the seat now held by Judge Lance Ito; Chris J. Frisco will succeed Judge Joseph DiLoreto, who retired July 31; Alison Matsumoto Estrada will replace Judge Harvey Giss; Ann H. Park takes the seat now held by Judge Arthur M. Lew; Serena R. Murillo will fill the post now held by Judge Daniel Lopez; Teresa Pineda Magno succeeds Judge David Milton, who retired in February; Joan M. Chrostek will replace Judge Bob S. Bowers Jr.; Stacy Wiese will fill the seat last held by Judge R. Bruce Minto, who retired in March; Carol Najera will replace Judge James B. Pierce, whom she defeated; Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong will take the seat formerly held by Judge Carlos Uranga, who retired in April; and Andrew Cooper will succeed Judge Jessica Perrin Silvers, who retired in February.
Judge Janice Croft retired Feb. 18, Judge John Meigs March 7, Judge Candace Beason April 15, and Judge Wendy L. Kohn June 6.
Vacancies created last year that have not been filled include the seats of Judge Charles W. McCoy, who retired Sept. 1, and Judge Cynthia Rayvis, who took disability retirement Aug. 22 and died Dec. 28.
There is a vacancy in a position that the Legislature authorized but has never funded, and five commissioner positions have been converted to judgeships that have not yet been filled.
Presiding Judge David Wesley said he will ask to convert seven more commissioner vacancies—resulting from the retirements of Commissioners James Endman, Anthony Jones, John Green, Carol Halowitz, and James Copeland, as well as the appointments of Joel Wallenstein and Lloyd Loomis to judgeships—to judgeships. Another commissioner, Louise Halevy, is on long-term sick leave.
Among those whose names have been sent to the JNE Commission as possible appointees to judgeships are South Pasadena attorney Mark S. Priver; Deputy District Attorneys Kevin Stennis, Candace Foy Smith, Leonard Torrealba, Kathleen Tuttle and Brentford Ferreira; Santa Fe Springs criminal defense attorney Lillian Vega Jacobs; Court of Appeal staff attorneys Frank J. Menetrez, Kenneth E. Roberson and Kim Nguyen; Superior Court Commissioners Anthony Trendacosta, Collette Serio, Marilyn Kading Martinez, Robert Kawahara, Alan Rubin, Emma Castro, Jane Godfrey, Sharon Lewis Miller, Mark Zuckman, Dennis Mulcahy and Kenneth Taylor; State Bar Court Judge Richard Honn; Deputy County Counsels Terry Truong and Julie Ann Silva; Glendale attorney Kenneth Wright; 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.
Three new commissioners, Nicole Heeseman, Terry Truong, and Terrance Lewis, were elected Sept. 29.
Services were held in Las Vegas Sept. 6 for retired Judge Harry Peetris, a onetime presiding judge of the court, who died Aug. 15 at the age of 94.

Legislation of Interest to the Legal Community

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

AB 1607 by Assemblymember Steve Fox, D-Palmdale, which amends procedures for release under the Sexually Violent Predator Act, including a provision for transfer of jurisdiction to the superior court in the county to which the defendant is released. The bill was signed into law by the governor on Sept. 8.

AB 2171 by Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, which grants residents of residential care facilities for the elderly many of the legal protections now given to residents of nursing homes. The bill was signed into law by the governor Sept. 9.

AB 2745 by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, which will authorize the conversion of 10 subordinate judicial officer positions to judgeships next year in order to address the shortage of judges in the areas of family and juvenile law. These positions would be in addition to the 16 conversions authorized each year under 2007’s AB 159. The bill was signed into law Sept. 9.

AB 2746 by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, is the State Bar dues bill for next year. As amended the bill increases the voluntary contribution for legal services for low-income from $30 to $40, and a provision was added allowing a State Bar trustee in the last year of his or term to run for president, in which case he or she would serve an additional year on the board, as the 20th member. The governor signed the bill into law Sept. 18.

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