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Born: Aug. 16, 1948 Appointed: July 15, 1994, by Wilson Previous work of note: Alameda County Superior Court judge 1991-94. Alameda County Municipal Court judge 1987-91. Alameda County Deputy DA, 1975-87. Law degree: Hastings College of the Law (1975) Watch Carol Corrigan at oral argument for an hour and you’ll know she’s one of the brainiest justices on the court of appeal. Glib and quick-witted, she often dominates oral argument on the First District’s Division Three. Her opinions are generally crisp and lively. “The convoluted and redundant wording of this [probation] condition is likely the source of much mischief, not the least of which is defendant’s argument here,” she wrote in People v. Biddinger, 41 Cal.App.4th 1219. Corrigan is regarded as one of the more conservative members of the First District on criminal justice, particularly Fourth Amendment issues. She once co-wrote a law review article calling for modifications on the exclusionary rule. Her 1994 opinion in People v. King, 30 Cal.App.4th 328, correctly anticipated the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1996 ruling Whren v. United States, 116 S.Ct. 1769 (1996), which effectively eliminated the pretextual stop defense. She is not an automatic vote for the prosecution, however, and has on occasion reversed murder convictions in cases of serious trial error. As a prosecutor, she was described by her former boss, D. Lowell Jensen, as careful and thoughtful, with “good academic skills.” Indeed, she did a one-year stint one year as adjunct professor to the University of Puget Sound School of Law in Tacoma, Wash., and has taught classes at Boalt Hall, Hastings and the University of San Francisco law schools. She also has been active in court administration, serving on the Judicial Council’s “2020″ planning project and heading up a panel that is revamping jury instructions. Corrigan switched her party registration from Democrat to Republican in 1995, prompting speculation around the courthouse that she was interested in a Supreme Court seat. Corrigan said the change simply reflected the evolution of her political philosophy. Corrigan’s Division Three is the second slowest panel on the First District, with median time from briefing to decision in civil appeals of 202 days, 142 for criminal cases, according to the most recent Judicial Council statistics. Court insiders say Corrigan’s deliberate, detail-oriented approach is one of the reasons.

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