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:
- 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.
- 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,
Court of Appeal
- 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,
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Patti S. Kitching. No. Appointed by
Pete Wilson, but has the same banal priorities as Rothschild and
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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,
- Richard Mosk. Yes. Even though he
was appointed by Gray Davis, Iíve had personal experience with this
guy as an attorney and liked him.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Laurie D. Zelon. No. Appointed by
Davis. Doesnít reveal much, which is a big disqualifier.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Office No. 18: Daviann L. Mitchell.
She also published a statement of qualifications. She prosecuted
gangbangers. I like that.
- 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.
- 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.