Two Criminal Defense Lawyers Elected As LA Commissioners

According to the Metropolitan News-Enterprise, Christopher Smith and Maria Puente-Porras have been elected as commissioners of the Los Angeles Superior Court.  Both are practicing criminal defense lawyers.

Superior Court commissioners are subordinate judicial officers who are appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, Superior Court judges.  They exercise all the powers and perform all the duties authorized by law to be performed by commissioners.  These duties mirror those performed by judges, although some require assignment by the Court to act as a temporary judge as well as a stipulation by all parties.

Both commissioners were elected by Superior Court judges off of a list of candidates nominated by a judicial panel.  The panel ranks the candidates on the list, and the top candidates are generally elected.  Due to budget constraints and the conversion of commissioner positions to judgeships, no commissioner elections were held between 2012 and early 2014.  Ballots were mailed to all Los Angeles Superior Court judges that year.  A handful of candidates have been elected as commissioners.

The highest ranked remaining candidate on the list is Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney LaTonya Hadnot, hopefully she will be the next to be elected.

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