Davis Names Three to Vacant Superior Court Posts

By AMANDA BRONSTAD

Staff Reporter

Gov. Gray Davis has moved to fill some of the 16 vacant judgeships on the Los Angeles County Superior Court, naming three private practice attorneys to the bench.

The three, Amy Hogue of Pillsbury Winthrop LLP, Gregory Keosian of Keosian & Keosian and Charles Palmer of Perkins Coie LLP, are assuming the balance of terms left vacant by retirement, death and removal from office.

They bring to eight the number of Superior Court appointments by Davis this year, said Alex Traverso, spokesman with the Governor's Office. Last year, Davis appointed 20 judges to L.A. County Superior Court, which has 450 seats. There are still 13 vacancies on the court.

Traverso said the state budget has provisions for the open seats, but the process, which typically takes four to five months, prevents them from being filled quickly.

"The process is fluid," he said. "We could fill three next week and get two more retirement letters. We don't want to rush to fill 13 vacancies and sacrifice quality."

Hogue was co-chairwoman of and partner in the intellectual property group in the L.A. office of Pillsbury Winthrop; Keosian a partner at Encino-based personal injury firm Keosian & Keosian; and Palmer was chairman of and partner in the employment law practice at Perkins Coie.

All L.A. Superior Court judges receive a salary of $136,224.

Keosian, 41, said he had served as a temporary judge for small claims and traffic cases the past three or four years to accommodate overworked judges. He will start the new position within a few weeks.

"The courts are so short-handed, they want me to wind up my practice as soon as feasible," Keosian said. "It's a little bit difficult leaving the firm at this point, but I'd like to apply my experience to the courts."

Palmer, 55, expects to begin his judgeship by late June or early July. He said partner Colleen Regan would assume his duties at Perkins Coie.

Hogue, 50, has represented media clients including NBC, CBS and ABC at Pillsbury Winthrop. She currently represents United California Bank and American Media Inc.

Judges are nominated or recommended to the Governor's Office, where Judicial Appointments Secretary Burt Pines reviews the submissions. Candidates are sent to the Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission for a two- to three-month review, after which the Governor's Office makes a final decision, he said.

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