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California 2006 Judges recommendations

by Tony Medley

 Judges are difficult because there is a conceit in the legal profession that they should be above common knowledge, that what they do shouldnít be issues in elections, which is, obviously, poppycock. As a result, there isnít much you can discover about them in a reasonable period of time, so if much of what follows appears to be superficial, thatís because it is. If judges can't become more transparent, they shouldn't be voted into a powerful office. That being said, Iíve researched them as well as I could and hereís how I feel:

 Supreme Court: 

  1. Joyce Kennard: No. Appointed by George Deukmejian, she apparently opposes parental notification and her decisions against it resulted in its on the ballot this November. Her priorities are ďto fairly and evenhandedly interpret the laws of California and the state and federal Constitutions, to approach each case with an open mind, and to weigh the arguments of the parties carefully and objectively, without any personal bias or agenda not to favor the rich over the poor or the powerful over the weak, but to treat all parties before the court as equals, to devote my full energies to serving the people of California.Ē If that banal statement is all she wants us to know, it sounds to me as if she doesnít want us to know how she feels.
  2. Carol Corrigan: Yes. Appointed by Schwarzenegger, she is a former democrat who switched to a republican. She sounds like a good person. Her community activities include: Board of Directors: Holy Names College 1988-present (Chair, 1990-2005); Saint Vincent's Day Home, 1982-present (Chair, 1991-present); Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay, 1985-1989.

 Court of Appeal 

  1. Robert M. Mallano: No. Appointed by the discredited Gray Davis, hereís all he has to say about himself: He says he will decide cases fairly and impartially, and faithfully follow the law, and treat everyone in our courts with courtesy and respect.. If that pabulum is all he has to offer the public, I say, dump him.
  2. Frances Rothschild: No. Appointed by Schwarzenegger, her priorities are, word for word, identical with Mallanoís, to wit:  Decide cases fairly and impartially, faithfully follow the law, and treat everyone in our courts with courtesy and respect. They apparently are being advised by the same smarmy PR consultant. If they are not honest enough to tell us how they really think, I donít want them making law.
  3. Roger W. Boren: Yes. Appointed by Pete Wilson, but originally appointed to the Superior Court by Deukmejian. He prosecuted organized crime and prison gang cases throughout California. He was the head prosecutor in the famous "Hillside Strangler" trial and convicted Angelo Buono of the murder of 9 young women in Los Angeles.
  4. Victoria M. Chavez: No. Appointed by Schwarzenegger, I can find out virtually nothing about her or about how she believes, except that she is a Republican. If sheís that retiring about her beliefs, I donít want her.
  5. Patti S. Kitching. No. Appointed by Pete Wilson, but has the same banal priorities as Rothschild and Mallano.
  6. Richard D. Aldrich. No. Appointed by Pete Wilson. Big on arbitration. Arbitration is the worst of all possible litigations because arbitratorsí decisions are not subject to the process of appeal, so you can sue somebody for $100 and they can make a  frivolous counterclaim against you and if the arbitrator decides for the other guy with absolutely no evidence, you are sunk. Arbitrators are instructed to keep the record as sketchy as possible so that there can be no criticism. Read the American Arbitration Association instructions for arbitrators sometime. They will scare the heck out of you.
  7. Norman L. Epstein. Yes. This guy was originally appointed to the municipal court by Ronald Reagan. He received subsequent appointments from Governors Brown, Deukmejian, and the most recent by Schwarzenegger. He was General Counsel and Vice Chancellor of the state university when Governor Reagan appointed him to the Los Angeles Municipal Court. I donít know much about him, but if Reagan knew him then and liked him, thatís good enough for me. As you may recall, Reagan had some incendiary confrontations with the state universities.
  8. Thomas L. Willhite. No. Appointed by Schwarzenegger. Not enough information to make a decision. If these judges want my vote, they are going to have to reveal something about themselves.
  9. Nora M. Manella. No. Appointed by Schwarzenegger. Before that she was appointed by President Clinton to be U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, and then as a Federal Judge by Clinton. A Los Angeles Daily Journal survey of California lawyers, she was voted among the "100 Most Powerful Lawyers in California." For me, thatís not a positive.

Court of Appeal Justice 

  1. Steven Suzukawa. Yes. Like all the other judges, thereís not much on this guy to indicate what he believes. Heís been appointed by three Republicans, for what thatís worth, and his parents were interred at Manzanar or a place like it, anyway.
  2. Richard Mosk. Yes. Even though he was appointed by Gray Davis, Iíve had personal experience with this guy as an attorney and liked him.
  3. Sandy R. Kriegler. No. Appointed by Schwarzenegger. Not enough information to make a decision for him, even though heís a Little League coach and apparently loves baseball.
  4. Dennis M. Perluss. No. Appointed by Gray Davis. Sounds like a politically connected guy to me, having been on the Christopher Commission, among other political activities. Thatís not a plus.
  5. Fred Woods. Yes. Appointed by Deukmejian. At least this guy reveals some of the opinions he has written (which I havenít read). Thatís more than any of the others who are trying to be elected. And heís a Rotarian.
  6. Laurie D. Zelon. No. Appointed by Davis. Doesnít reveal much, which is a big disqualifier.
  7. Candace D. Cooper. No. Appointed by Davis. Sheís a longtime member of the California Judicial Council, a constitutionally created 27-member policymaking body of the California courts, so she should accept some responsibility for the sorry state of the courts.
  8. Madeleine Flier. No. Appointed by Davis. She served on the Judicial Performance Commission, the judicial disciplinary agency, which does virtually nothing to discipline the biased, lazy, arrogant judges we have in California. Membership of this hypocritical board is enough to disqualify her as far as Iím concerned.

Superior Court 

  1. Office No. 8: Bob Henry. Actually has published a statement of qualifications that tells us quite a bit about him. Even if I hadnít liked what I read, which I did, I would have given him a lot of credit for being forthcoming, which is apparently not a virtue many judges have when running for office.
  2. Office No. 18: Daviann L. Mitchell. She also published a statement of qualifications. She prosecuted gangbangers. I like that.
  3. Office No. 102: Hayden Zacky. Zacky was at the Central Branch of the Hardcore Gang division where he was responsible for prosecuting the most violent crimes, primarily murder. He now prosecutes violent gang crimes in the Antelope Valley. Anybody who fights the gangbangers is a good guy for me. And his  family always made chicken without antibiotics and all that other bad stuff.
  4. Office no. 144: David W. Stuart. Not much info, but he says heís for victims rights, and thatís a good start, even if it might be some PR guyís idea to gain an advantage. His opponent is a former arbitrator and you already know what I feel about arbitrators. She also doesnít tell us much about herself.