Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Mann announces retirement from the bench

LAKEPORT – After 30 years on the bench, Judge Arthur H. Mann announced Monday that he is retiring.

Mann, 62, said his retirement as judge of Lake County Superior Court's Department 3 will become effective Nov. 1.

“Although I am retiring, I am not quitting,” Mann said in a statement released from his office Monday afternoon. “I anticipate that I will remain working as a retired judge until my successor is selected.

“I wish to thank all the other judges that I have had the pleasure of working with as well as all the Court employees,” Mann continued. “I will miss working with my fellow judges and court staff as much as I will miss being a judge.”

Mann began his judicial career on July 10, 1979, when he was appointed judge of the Kelseyville Justice Court.

Since then, he's been a justice court judge, a municipal court judge and a superior court judge. In that capacity, he's heard everything from minor cases to cases involving murder.

“Being a judge is the best possible profession that I can imagine, and I always looked forward to going to work each day,” he said.

Mann and the rest of Lake County's Superior Court judges have six-year terms, which aren't up for reelection until 2012, according to the Lake County Registrar of Voters Office.

That means Mann's retirement will create a vacancy that is up to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to fill, said Philip Carrizosa, spokesman for the state's Administrative Office of the Courts in San Francisco.

“Generally, the governor's office has a list of people who have filed applications for a judgeship,” Carrizosa explained.

The Governor's Office sends those names over to the California State Bar's Commission for Judicial Nominees Evaluation, said Carrizosa. The commission sends out questionnaires to people who may know that candidates, and conducts candidate interviews.

The application process is the governor is very detailed, and Carrizosa said the Commission for Judicial Nominees Evaluation's work in identifying a suitable candidate is confidential.

The commission assigns ratings to candidates on a scale including extremely well qualified, well qualified, qualified and not qualified, Carrizosa said.

The commission's evaluation of the candidates then go to the governor's judicial appointment secretary, which assists in deciding the best candidate for the position, he said.

Generally, the governor will wait until a position is officially vacant – in this case, November – before beginning the selection process, said Carrizosa. He said he would expect the governor to appoint a new judge sometime in early 2010.

It can take some time to fill a judgeship. The last judicial vacancy in Lake County occurred in July 2004, when Judge Robert Crone decided to retire. It was the following July before Richard Martin was sworn in as his successor.

An official with the Governor's Office wasn't available late Monday to confirm if they've started to receive applications from candidates.

Superior Court judges currently make $178,789 annually. However, local judges have agreed to take a nearly 5-percent pay cut in response to the state's decision to close all courts on the third Wednesday of the month as a cost-saving measure, as Lake County News has reported.

There so far have been no local members of the justice system who have stated they'll seek Mann's post.

However, one who said he won't apply is District Attorney Jon Hopkins.

“I don't think I would be as happy doing that as I am being a prosecutor,” said Hopkins, 63, noting he wouldn't want to be tied to a courtroom.

Hopkins added that being a judge is “a tough job. There's a lot of work involved with it.”

Mann ended his statement by thanking the community “for giving me the opportunity to serve them and I thank them for their support of the judicial system. As a retired judge I hope to continue serving the public.”

He also wished his successor good luck, “and I know that whoever succeeds me will have a rewarding career.”

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews .

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