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One day after Gov. Gray Davis was voted out of office, he gave plaintiffs attorneys �� a key constituency that supported him during the recall election �� a trio of superior court posts. Of seven judges named Wednesday, three came from the plaintiffs bar: Charles “Steve” Crandall of San Luis Obispo, Douglas Hatchimonji of Irvine and Bryan Foster of Riverside. The plaintiffs attorneys lobby funneled $1 million into Davis’ unsuccessful fight against the recall. Gavels also went to Santa Cruz County Supervisor Jeff Almquist, Riverside County Superior Court Commissioner Bernard Schwartz and family law specialists Janet Frangie of Monrovia and James Oakley of Madera. Crandall, who was appointed to the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, is an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law. As a private practitioner in San Diego and San Luis Obispo, Crandall specializes in filing citizen lawsuits on behalf of environmental groups. The 51-year-old’s client list included the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, CalPIRG and League for Coastal Protection. Earlier in his career, Crandall was a partner at Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey and a law clerk to a New Jersey federal judge. Hatchimonji, a 48-year-old partner at the Irvine plaintiffs shop Rose, Klein & Marias, was appointed to the Orange County Superior Court. Hatchimonji has been at Rose, Klein since 1981 and specializes in toxic torts, product liability and employment issues. The attorney has also served as a court-appointed arbitrator and as judge pro tem for the Orange County Superior Court. Davis appointed Foster to the San Bernardino Superior Court. Foster is a veteran Riverside plaintiffs lawyer who’s litigated 60 jury trials. Before the 55-year-old became a solo practitioner in 2000, he was a partner at Foster, Driscoll & Reynolds for 10 years and an associate with Kankle, Rodgier & Spriggs. Foster has been a private and court-appointed mediator in roughly 200 cases. Almquist, 55, was appointed to the Santa Cruz County Superior Court. Almquist is a former Scott’s Valley civil litigator who was elected to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors in 1996. During his seven years on that panel, he sat on several regional boards, including the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District, the Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission and the Criminal Justice Council. As a civil litigator, Almquist specialized in business, real estate, bankruptcy and probate. Schwartz has been a Riverside County Superior Court commissioner since 2000. Schwartz handled the misdemeanor master calendar, preliminary hearings, misdemeanor trials and Proposition 36 drug court. The 43-year-old is a former public defender who left for private practice. Schwartz was a criminal defense specialist at Johnston & Schwartz for 12 years. Frangie, a family law expert and name partner at Narvid, Scott, Schwartz & Frangie, was named to the San Bernardino County Superior Court. The 49-year-old Monrovia attorney has been at the firm since 1984 and serves as a family law mediator, as well as a judge pro tem in family law cases. Before he was tapped for the Madera County Superior Court, Oakley was a general practitioner, specializing in family and civil law since 1990. Oakley is no stranger to the bench. From 1986 until 1988 Oakley was a county Justice Court judge, sitting by assignment in Madera and other counties around the state. Before that, the 50-year-old spent seven years prosecuting cases in Madera and Fresno counties and briefly worked as a deputy city attorney in Fresno. Oakley also sat on the Madera City Council from 1984 until 1986. The new judges will earn $139,784 annually.

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