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LACBA's State Appellate Judicial Evaluation Committee

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Please be aware that the only ratings available for Appellate Judicial candidates are either "qualified" or "not qualified", (as opposed to the four rating categories for Superior Court candidates).

Division 1         Division 5    
Robert M. Mallano   Qualified   Richard M. Mosk   Qualified
Frances Rothschild   Qualified   Sandy R. Kriegler   Qualified
Division 2       Division 6    
Roger W. Boren   Qualified   Arthur Gilbert   Qualified
Victoria M. Chavez   Qualified        
        Division 7    
Division 3       Dennis M. Perluss   Qualified
Patti S. Kitching   Qualified   Fred Woods   Qualified
Richard D. Aldrich   Qualified   Laurie D. Zelon   Qualified
Division 4       Division 8    
Norman L. Epstein   Qualified   Candace D. Cooper   Qualified
Thomas L. Willhite Jr. Qualified Madeleine Flier Qualified
Nora M. Manella   Qualified        
Steven C. Suzukawa   Qualified        

Most Frequently Asked Questions

What do California Court of Appeals Justices Do?
Justices in the six California districts decide civil and non death penalty criminal cases and related cases that arise from trial courts. Three (3) justices review each case. These proceedings are hearings, and not trials, whose focus is to see if there was any legal error in the trial courts procedures or reasoning, which was prejudicial to the appealing party.

Justices are assisted by a staff of research attorneys who help them review the trial records, parties' written briefs and oral arguments. Each judge hears over 500 appeals and authors with a concurring justice, about 175 opinions a year. In some cases the opinions are published and stand as legal precedent for future cases in trial courts.

How are Court of Appeals Court Justices Selected?
Nominees for appointment to the Court of Appeal are selected by the Governor of California and must have been members of the State Bar or a State Judge for 10 years immediately prior to nomination, as required by the State Constitution. The Governor's list of nominees is required by State law to be submitted to the California State Bar's Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission.

The Commission is made up of both lawyers and non-lawyers and conducts a thorough review of the nominees' backgrounds and qualifications. Once done, the confidential evaluation is presented to the Governor. By agreement with the Governor, the State Appellate Judicial Evaluation Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association provides a similar independent evaluation of possible nominees to the Court of Appeals Second Appellate District, which covers Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.

Upon review of these evaluations the Governor makes the nominations and submits their names for public comment. The list of nominees is then examined and reviewed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, made up of the Chief Justice of California, the Attorney General of California, and the Senior Presiding Judge of the California Court of Appeals in which the nominee would sit. The Commission then confirms or rejects the nominee as a Justice.

Why are Appellate Justices Listed on the Ballot?
At the first gubernatorial election following confirmation and again at the end of the Justice's term in office, if the Justice seeks another term he/she is subject to approval by the voters.

Why aren't Justices' Political Affiliations on the Ballot?
California judicial offices are nonpartisan.

What Role does the Los Angeles County Bar Association's State Appellate Judicial Evaluation Committee play in the nomination of possible nominees?
In addition to providing the Governor with evaluations of the possible nominees for the Second Appellate District, candidates for the Committee provide evaluations of the Justice's qualifications for retention as a Justice when their names appear on the ballot. This evaluation is the official report of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Who Serves on the Appellate Elections Evaluation Committee?
The President of the Los Angeles County Bar Association appoints approximately 35 members to the committee. The committee members are required to be attorneys of high repute and professional standing who are willing to commit the necessary time for the judicial evaluations. The committee members can neither contribute to nor work against the candidacy of any justice being evaluated by it. Most of the committee members have substantial experience practicing before the Court of Appeals and the committee itself is made up of a diverse and highly qualified cross-section of the Bar.

How Does the Committee Evaluate Each Justice?
The committee assesses each Justice's integrity and character, intellectual capacity, fairness, expertise, industry and diligence, judicial temperament, knowledge of the law and professional ability, including the ability to write clearly and persuasively.

The committee is aided in this effort by judges, lawyers and others familiar with the justice's record and performance. Once a final decision has been reached a written report providing the committees evaluation of "qualified"; or "not qualified."

Why Doesn't the Committee Compare the Justices Against Each Other?
The Justices do not run against each other or against other candidates. The voters decide whether or not to retain a Justice. Also because of the variety of backgrounds and the nature of individual judicial duties, rigid comparisons are not possible.

What Determines Whether an Appellate Justice is "Qualified" or "Not Qualified"?
Taking into account the many qualities desired as an Appellate Justice, an individual Justice receives a "Qualified"; rating if he/she demonstrates the skill and ability of an appellate Justice who works conscientiously and thoroughly on cases before the court (see discussion above; How Does the Committee Evaluate Each Justice?). The Justice must also demonstrate respect for the judicial process and respect for the parties who come before the Court.


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