A report on where

Attorney General Charges Former Presiding Judge Bascue in Shooting Incident...Trial Set for Next Year in Suit By Lawyer, Convicted of Obstructing SEC, Alleging His Ex-Firm Aided Government in Order to Get His Book Of Business...Los Angeles Superior Court Appoints 11 New Commissioners, Exhausting List of Candidates

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; Deputy District Attorneys Efrain Aceves and Susan Jung Townsend; and Deputy Attorney General Kim Nguyen.

Judges, Lawyers Under Scrutiny

James Bascue
Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge

Bascue, 75, has been charged by the state attorney general in connection with his June 11 arrest for shooting at police officers who came to his home in the Sawtelle neighborhood of Los Angeles after a call that Bascue himself made.
An attorney for Bascue, a judge from 1990 to 2007 and the court’s presiding judge in 2001 and 2002, said his client was receiving treatment, of an unspecified type, at an unspecified location.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, where Bascue served as chief deputy in the 1980s, has recused itself from the case, which has been assigned to an Orange Superior Court judge.

David Tammam
Suspended Attorney

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Aug. 13 issued a case management order, setting the trial of Tamman’s lawsuit against Nixon Peabody LLP, where he used to be a partner, for Oct. 11 of next year.
Tamman is serving a seven-year sentence at Lompoc federal prison, according to Bureau of Prisons records. He was convicted 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 his client’s false testimony before the SEC.
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, contends 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.


President Obama, on July 16, nominated Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Young to succeed Judge Audrey B. Collins, who retired Aug. 1 of last year to join the state Court of Appeal.
Judge Margaret Morrow is taking senior status Oct. 29.

There are no vacancies.

Second District

There are vacancies 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. Another vacancy will occur in Div. Three due to the imminent retirement of Justice Patti S. Kitching.
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, Richard Rico, Helen Bendix, Ann Jones, and Sanjay Kumar; and Southwestern Law School professor Christopher Cameron. The name of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Russell Kussman was also sent to the JNE Commission, but Kussman has withdrawn from consideration.
The following Los Angeles Superior Court judges have been temporarily assigned to the court: Jones to Div. Three through October, Richard H. Kirschner to Div. Five through September, Mitchell L. Beckloff to Div. Seven through September, and Sam Ohta to Div. Eight through October.

Seats in other districts are filled.

Los Angeles Superior Court

Judge Tia Fisher retired Aug. 1.
Earlier vacancies resulted from 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 Judges Lee Edmon on Jan. 5 of this year and Judges John Segal and Luis Lavin last month 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, Leland Harris May 8, Alan Goodman July 30 and 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; 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 attorney Kenneth E. Roberson, Deputy Attorney General Kim Nguyen; Superior Court Commissioners Timothy Martella, Pamela Davis, 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 attorney Angel Navarro; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Wesley Hsu.
The court this month exhausted its list of potential commissioners, appointing Lisa Strassner, Alicia Blanco, Armando Duron, Amy C. Yerkey, Nichelle Blackwell, Timothy Martella, Marilyn Mordetzky, Michael Miller, Sheryl Beasley, Amparo Veronica Sauceda and Doreen Boxer.
Strassner, Blackwell, Martella, Mordetzky, and Boxer have taken office and are sitting at the Antonovich, Edelman, Pomona South, McCourtney, and Norwalk courthouses, respectively.

Legislation of Interest to the Legal Community

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

AB 139 by Assemblymember Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, which would authorize the use of revocable transfer-on-death deeds so that real estate may be transferred without probate upon the death of the transferee. The bill, which passed the Assembly April 9 by a vote of 78-0, was amended in the Senate July 15 to add additional provisions regarding administration of small estates, and was amended again Aug. 26.

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. 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. The bill also provides that the trial court retains jurisdiction to correct errors in the calculation of monetary assessments after an appeal has been taken. It was signed into law by the governor Aug. 13.

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 advanced to third reading Aug. 18.

SB 134 by Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, which, as amended, would provide that unclaimed IOLTA funds be used to fund a student loan repayment program for public interest lawyers The Senate version of the bill, which passed that chamber June 3 by a vote of 37-0, would have used voluntary payments collected by the State Bar to fund the program. The amended bill was amended in the Assembly Aug. 19, passed he Appropriations Committee Aug. 26 by a vote of 17-0, and was advanced to third reading.

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 was signed into law by the governor Aug. 1.

SB 330 by Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, which would, effective Jan. 1, 2017, expand the conflict-of-interest provisions of the Government Code to bar a public official from voting on a contract in which the person’s spouse, child, parent, or sibling, or the spouse of a child, parent, or sibling, has a financial interest. As amended Aug. 18, the bill would criminalize violations. The bill was placed on the Appropriations suspense file Aug. 26.

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 passed the Appropriations Committee Aug. 19 by a vote of 11-4 and was advanced to third reading.

SB 588 by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin DeLeon, D-Los Angeles, which would permit the Labor Commissioner to enforce orders for payment of wages as if they were civil judgments. The bill passed the Senate in June by a vote of 26-13 and was amended in the Assembly July 1, approved by the Judiciary Committee, and placed on the Appropriations suspense file Aug. 19..

SB 711 by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Vacaville, which would authorize county law libraries to charge for “special services” such as photocopying and admission to special events. The bill passed the Senate May 22 by a vote of 38-0, passed the Assembly June 22, and was sent back to the Senate, which sent the bill back to the Assembly June 25. The Assembly on July 2 rescinded its passage of the bill, and on July 9 amended it by adding a provision allowing county law libraries to receive assistance from the California State Library. The bill passed the Appropriations Committee Aug. 19 by a vote of 17-0, passed the Assembly Aug. 27 by a vote of 78-0, and was sent back to the Senate for concurrence in Assembly amendments.

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