Panel approves Calif. judicial nominee despite objections

Chris Rizo Sep. 25, 2009, 3:00pm

Charles "Chuck" Poochigian (R)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's nominee to a state appeals court has been approved by a committee despite objections by the state bar.

The State Bar of California said former Republican state lawmaker Charles "Chuck" Poochigian was "not qualified" for a seat on the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno because of what they called a lack of legal experience.

The "not qualified" rating is the lowest of four possible rankings.
Still, the Commission on Judicial Appointments unanimously confirmed Poochigian, a former state senator, on Thursday.

The state bar panel has argued that Poochigian had not practiced law for more than two decades and has never handled a case in the appellate courts. They also noted that the former lawmaker has not practiced criminal law.

Poochigian, 60, ran for state attorney genera in 2006. He was beat out by Democrat Jerry Brown, the state's current chief legal officer who is expected to run for governor next year.

On the three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments is: Brown, Chief Supreme Court Justice Ronald George and 5th District Presiding Justice James Ardaiz.

Poochigian worked as an attorney from 1975 to 1988. He joined Gov. George Deukmejian's administration in 1988. Under Gov. Pete Wilson, also a Republican, Poochigian was promoted to appointments secretary.

He was elected to the state Legislature in 1994 and served until 2006. After losing the AG race, Poochigian joined the Fresno law firm of Dowling, Aaron & Keeler,

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

More News