Accused judge named one of Cal. SC chief's policy group newbies

Legal News Line Jun. 21, 2007, 4:28am

Chief Justice Ronald M. George

SACRAMENTO -- California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M. George has put his own judicial stamp on the state court system's main policy-making body. The Chief Justice announced Wednesday that he added three new faces to his seven total appointments to the Judicial Council of California. The JCC oversees the bureaucracy of the nation's largest court system. The JCC has recently taken leadership roles on court consolidations and transfers, jury reforms and state funding, George's statement noted. The Chief Justice appoints 14 of the JCC's 29 members. George's three new faces are Court of Appeal Justice Brad R. Hill of the Fifth Appellate District, Superior Court Judge George J. Abdallah of San Joachin County and Mr. Michael D. Planet, Superior Court Executive Officer of Ventura County. The state's Commission on Judicial Performance (CJP) earlier this year probed claims that Judge Abdallah and another judge had pre-judged a disciplinary case against a third judge. The CJP, ruling that Abdallah had committed "no impropriety" in the matter, imposed no punishment. George re-appointed three Superior Court judges to the JCC: Presiding Judge Nancy Weiben Stock of Orange County, Judge Terry B. Friedman of Los Angeles County and Judge James Michael Welch of San Bernardino County. He also re-appointed Fresno attorney Anthony P. Capozzi. All three of the new Chief Justice appointees will serve three-year terms on the JCC. Of the older hands, Weiben Stock will serve just one additional year while the other three will also serve for a further three years. Presiding Judge Ira R. Kaufman of the Superior Court of Plumas County is expected to join the JCC as an advisory member later this year when he becomes president of the California Judges Association.

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