A report on where

Governor Nominates Mariano-Florentino Cuellar to Succeed Baxter on State Supreme Court... Senate Confirms U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. to be U.S. District Judge...Superior Court Commissioner John Johnson to Retire Aug. 30

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 (Gang Homicide Attorney) will face Tom Griego (Criminal Gang Prosecutor). The winner will succeed Judge Rex Heeseman.

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.

Judiciary: Vacancies, Appointments

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

There are no vacancies.


U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. was confirmed by the Senate July 22 to succeed Judge Gary Feess, who took senior status March 13

Gov. Jerry Brown nominated Stanford Law School professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar on July 22 to succeed Justice Marvin Baxter, who announced June 18 that he will not seek retention in November’s election. If confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, voters will decide whether to give him a full 12-year term.
Justice Joyce L. Kennard retired April 5.

First District

Justice James Humes, formerly of Div. Four, was confirmed and sworn in July 17 to succeed Presiding Justice James Marchiano, who retired from Div. One March 15 of last year. Therese Stewart, formerly the chief deputy city attorney of San Francisco, was confirmed the same day to succeed Justice James Lambden, who retired from Div. Two July 31 of last year.
There remains one vacancy in Div. Two, resulting from the retirement of Justice Paul Haerle.

Second District

Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein of Div. Three is not seeking retention. Her term will end Jan. 5. The governor said he intends to nominate Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lee S. Edmon as her successor.
Justice Frances Rothschild of Div. One was elevated to presiding justice, succeeding Robert Mallano—who retired Feb. 28—when she was confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments July 17. Audrey B. Collins, formerly a U.S. district judge for the Central District of California, was confirmed the same day to succeed Justice Steven Suzukawa, who retired from Div. Four Feb. 28.
Gov. Jerry Brown said he intends to nominate Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brian Hoffstadt to succeed Justice Kathryn Doi Todd, who retired from Div. Two Jan. 22 of last year and whose term will end Jan. 5 of next year.
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 John Segal, Luis Lavin, Helen Bendix, and Sanjay Kumar; and Southwestern Law School professor Christopher Cameron.

Third District

The governor, on July 25, said he would nominate his legal affairs secretary, Jonathan Renner, for the seat that has been vacant since Tani Cantil-Sakauye became chief justice in January 2011. If confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, district voters will decide 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 is retiring today; 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 the Legislature 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.
Brenda Penny, a former probate attorney for the court, was elected commissioner this month.
Commissioner John Johnson is retiring Aug. 30.
Among those whose names have been sent to the JNE Commission as possible judicial appointees to judgeships are 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; 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; 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.

Legislation of Interest to the Legal Community

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

AB 1607 by Assemblymember Steve Fox, D-Palmdale, which would amend 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 passed the Assembly May 23 by a vote of 75-0 and was sent to the Senate July 2, where it was amended to provide that the county from which the offender was committed will provide an attorney to represent the public at any release hearing, unless that county and the county of the offender’s domicile agree that the latter county will provide the attorney.

AB 2098 by Assemblymember Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, which would provide that a military veteran’s service-connected mental illness be treated as a mitigating factor in whether to impose the low, middle, or high base prison term under the Determinate Sentencing Law. A provision of the original bill that would have made such illness a mitigating factor in death penalty cases was eliminated in the Assembly by amendment. The bill was signed into law by the governor July 21.

AB 2745 by Assemblymember Matt Dababneh, D-Encino, which would generally require that the amount of restitution owed to a crime victim be determined before the defendant’s mandatory or probation supervision is transferred to another county. The governor signed the bill into law July 9.

AB 2746 by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, which is the State Bar dues bill for next year. As amended in the Assembly, the bill increases the voluntary contribution for legal services for low-income persons. The bill passed the Assembly May 15 by a vote of 76-0. As amended in the Senate June 18, dues would be increased by $7 in order to pay administrative costs. As amended July 1, if the authorization for the additional $7 is allowed to expire, the State Bar will be authorized to use its other funding sources to pay its administrative expenses.

SB 406 by Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, the Tribal Court Civil Judgment Act, passed the Senate Jan. 23 by a vote of 33-0, passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee June 17 by a vote of 10-0, and passed the Senate Appropriations Committee July 2 by a vote of 17-0.

SB 1010 by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, which would eliminate disparities in sentencing for crimes involving crack cocaine and those involving the same amount of powder cocaine. The bill passed the Senate May 28 by a vote of 21-12 and passed the Public Safety Committee in the Assembly June 17 by a vote of 5-1, and was sent to the Appropriations Committee, where it was passed on July 3 by a vote of 12-3.

SB 1222 by Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, which will alter criminal procedure by requiring that the reasons for a judicial order of dismissal be stated orally for the record, to be followed by a minute order if requested by a party or if the proceedings are not reported. The bill was signed into law by the governor July 18.

SB 1272 by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, which would place an advisory question on the Nov. 4 ballot asking voters whether they favor a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) 558 U.S. 310, which permits corporations to make direct expenditures for the purpose of influencing elections. The bill became law without the governor’s signature July 22, but opponents are seeking to have it removed from the ballot.




Copyright Metropolitan News Company, 1999-2014