A report on where

Judge in Bascue Case Orders Pre-Plea Report...Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Nomination of Superior Court Judge Mark Young to U.S. District Court...Judge Jeffrey Winikou Announces Resignation After Less Than Four Years on Bench

Judicial Elections

Campaign consultant/treasurer David Gould told the MetNews he is representing 10 candidates for Los Angeles Superior Court judge in next year’s elections: Deputy District Attorneys Efrain Aceves, Susan Jung Townsend, Debra Archuleta, David Berger, Steven Ipson,Taly Peretz, Steven Schreiner, Javier Perez, and Philip Marshall; Santa Monica attorney Susan Jerich of Silver, Hadden, Silver, Wexler & Levine; and Superior Court Commissioner Cynthia Zuzga.
SG&A Campaigns is the consultant for Deputy Attorney General Kim Nguyen. Her husband, Mike Shimpock, is a member of the firm.
Also running are Van Nuys attorney Naser N. Khoury, business litigator Aaron Weissman, and Sydne S. Michel, a lawyer in the Redondo Beach City Attorney’s Office.

Judges, Lawyers Under Scrutiny

James Bascue
Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge

Orange Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals, specially assigned to hear the assault charge against Bascue, a former presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court, this month ordered a pre-plea report.
Further proceedings are scheduled for Jan. 8. Bascue’s attorney, Richard Hirsch, said negotiations to resolve the case are continuing.
Bascue, 75, pled not guilty Sept. 4 to a single count of assault with a firearm for allegedly firing a shot at police officers who came to his home in the Sawtelle neighborhood of Los Angeles in June after a call that Bascue himself made.
The former jurist served on the Los Angeles Superior Court from 1990 to 2007 and was presiding judge in 2001 and 2002.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, where Bascue served as chief deputy in the 1980s, has recused itself from the case, which is being prosecuted by the state attorney general.

Justin Moongyu Lee
Suspended Los Angeles Attorney

A final default judgment was entered on Oct. 28, holding Lee liable for disgorgement, interest, and penalties totaling nearly $8.5 million.
Prosecutors in the related criminal case previously reported that Lee is incarcerated in South Korea.
He was indicted Sept. 3 of last year 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.
The SEC complaint, 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. Rebecca Lee has pled the Fifth Amendment in those proceedings. The proceedings as to Kent were stayed last October, and he agreed last month to entry of final judgment for disgorgement and penalties totaling $205,000.
The civil and criminal allegations against Justin Lee are similar to those raised in State Bar disciplinary proceedings filed in January 2013. 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.
Lee has been a State Bar member since 1997, but has been under suspension for nonpayment of dues since July 1 of last year, and was suspended from practicing before the U.S. District Court for the Central District on Dec. 22.

Judiciary: Vacancies, Appointments

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

There are no vacancies, but one will be created when Judge Harry Pregerson takes senior status on Dec. 11, when he will complete 44 years of active service on the federal courts. The judge turned 92 years of age last month. Another vacancy will occur when Judge Barry Silverman takes senior status Oct. 11 of next year.


The nomination of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Young was reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee Nov. 5. He was nominated by President Obama on July 16 to succeed Judge Audrey B. Collins, who retired Aug. 1 of last year to join the state Court of Appeal.
Judge Margaret Morrow took senior status Oct. 29, and Judge Dean Pregerson is doing so Jan. 28.

There are no vacancies.

Second District

There are vacancies in Div. Three, due to the Oct. 5 retirement of Justice Patti S. Kitching; 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, 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 Dec. 31, and Mitchell L. Beckloff to Div. Seven through Dec. 11. Seats in other districts are filled.

Seats in other districts are filled.

Los Angeles Superior Court

Gov. Jerry Brown, on Nov. 17, named seven judges to the court—Michelle M. Ahnn, Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Maurice A. Leiter, Catherine J. Pratt, Theresa M. Traber and Joshua D. Wayser.
Ahnn, a deputy alternate public defender, fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Lee S. Edmon to the Court of Appeal.
Frimpong has served as vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government foreign aid agency, since January. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Thomas R. White.
Goorvitch has served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California since 2007. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge James A. Steele.
Leiter has been at Arnold and Porter LLP since 1991, and has been a partner of the firm since 1994. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Antonio Barreto.
Pratt has been a commissioner of the court since 2006. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Leslie A. Dunn.
Traber is a founding partner at Traber and Voorhees. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Steven D. Ogden.
Wayser, 52, has been managing partner since 2011 at Katten, Muchin and Rosenman LLP, which he joined in 2008. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Cesar C. Sarmiento.
Judge Ellen DeShazer died Nov. 22 at the age of 76.
Previous vacancies resulted from the elevations of Judges John Segal and Luis Lavin to the Court of Appeal in July, and the retirements of Judges Ronald Rose March 20; Patrick Hegarty and Patricia Schnegg March 31; Arthur Jean, Owen Kwong, and Ronald Skyers April 30; Leland Harris May 8, Alan Goodman July 30; Thomas McKnew July 31; Tia Fisher Aug. 1; Richard Stone Aug. 28; and Reva Goetz Sept. 21.
Among those whose names have been sent to the JNE Commission as possible appointees to judgeships are Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney—and former city attorney candidate—Michael Amerian; attorney/mediator Michael Diliberto; former Superior Court Referee Stephanie Davis; Los Angeles attorneys David A. Rosen, Thomas D. Long, Angel Navarro and Lisa Mattern; Deputy Public Defender David Hazami; Superior Court counsel Brett Bianco; Beverly Hills attorney Edward Tabash; South Pasadena attorney Mark S. Priver; Deputy District Attorneys Kerry White, 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; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Wesley Hsu. Judge Jeffrey K. Winikow said this month he intends to resign once he has exhausted his available vacation days. Winikow, a judge for less than four years, said he longed for the “autonomy” he had as a sole practitioner prior to joining the bench.

Legislation of Interest to the Legal Community

The Legislature was not in session during November.




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