Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bigelow in as 2/8 PJ

The Commission on Judicial Appointments confirmed the appointment of Associate Justice Tricia Ann Bigelow as Presiding Justice of the 2/8 LA.

The Met News covered the CJA hearing and reports:

"Immediately after the hearing, Chief Justice Ronald George administered the oath of office to Bigelow, who wore the robe once belonging to her father, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge M. Ross Bigelow, who passed away in 2002.

Div. Four’s Presiding Justice Norman Epstein, District Attorney Steve Cooley and Los Angeles Superior Court Assistant Presiding Judge Lee S. Edmon spoke as witnesses in support of Bigelow’s appointment to the vacancy created by the retirement of Presiding Justice Candace Cooper at the end of 2008.  Each praised Bigelow’s work as a legal educator and writer, in addition to her stellar reputation as a bench officer.

Epstein described Bigelow as 'well-qualified, and more' for the position, based on her 'excellent as well as successful' legal career.  As a former supervising judge for the Los Angeles Municipal Court’s Hollywood branch, Bigelow was deserving of a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame, Epstein opined. 'I can only assume that will be coming, since these things do take time,' he said, drawing a laugh from the standing-room-only audience.  The justice also praised Bigelow’s decisions since joining the appellate court bench just over a year and a half ago as 'clear, concise, convincing, and humanely spare.'

Cooley, who spoke second, said he was reluctant to be 'redundant' in his praise of Bigelow, noting that Epstein had 'done his due diligence' regarding Bigelow’s qualifications.  Bigelow was 'a consummate professional' as a prosecutor with the Attorney General’s Office, trial judge, and appellate justice, Cooley said.  Cooley emphasized Bigelow’s experience, having secured 'hard-won convictions in literally hundreds of cases' as a prosecutor, presided over criminal and civil matters 'with ease and distinction' as a judge, and authored bench guides on sex crimes, criminal law jury instructions, Pitchess motions and basic felony sentencing.
George, who presided over the hearing with Attorney General Jerry Brown and Senior Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein of Div. Three, noted Cooley had multiple 'levels of exposure' to Bigelow over her career, and asked how Cooley viewed her as 'an advocate' and as 'a consumer of her publications.'  Cooley responded that he found Bigelow 'excellent' in each respect.

Edmon said that 'no one has done more than Justice Bigelow in the field of judicial education in the past 10 years,' and that the justice has 'influenced the careers of more than 1,000 new judges across the state' through her work with the judicial college.  She also emphasized Bigelow’s work ethic, recalling how she had 'worked nights and weekends' after being assigned to a civil courtroom for the first time, exercised with Edmon’s former bailiff as a personal trainer and braved the worst day of the Los Angeles riots to deliver a brief to the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.  'Nothing stops Trish Bigelow,' Edmon said.

Jonathan Wolff, chair of the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, also said that the commission had found Bigelow to be 'extremely hard-working,' as well as 'exceptionally intelligent' and 'a leader in the field of legal education,' with 'an impressive aptitude for legal administration.'  He reported that the commission had found Bigelow 'well-qualified' for appointment."