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General News Fri, 20 Apr 2001

Ghanaian Born Woman Appointed Judge to Superior Court

Gov. Gray Davis announced the appointment of an eclectic group of new judges to the San Diego County Superior Court bench Thursday.

The four new appointees include a veteran prosecutor, a healthcare expert, a civil litigator and a woman born in Ghana whose father was a Supreme Court justice in two African countries.

They will fill half of the vacancies on the San Diego Superior Court bench, which includes 128 judges' seats.

The announcement from the governor's office came as a surprise on Thursday morning, according to Marilyn Laurence, a spokeswoman for the court.

Presiding Judge Wayne Peterson swore in one of the jurists, Desiree Bruce-Lyle, Thursday at around noon, Laurence said. Two more appointees, Jeffrey B. Barton and Browder A. Willis III, were scheduled to be sworn in Friday morning, she said. She did not know when the fourth new judge, Carol Isackson, would officially join the bench.

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Once they finish their orientation process -- which includes a trip to judge's college -- they can be assigned at any of the court's San Diego County facilities, including family and juvenile courts, as well as the downtown courthouse and branches in Vista, El Cajon and Chula Vista.

Each new judge will finish the term of a retiring judge before standing for re-election to a six-year stint. Incumbent judges are rarely challenged and do not appear on the ballot unless another candidate runs against them. The position pays about $133,000 a year.

A press release from the governor's office included the following background information about the new appointees:

Bruce-Lyle, 44, of San Diego, has been a workers' compensation administrative law judge since 1992. She also spent 10 years as a deputy county counsel, representing and advising a wide variety of county departments. Bruce-Lyle was born in Ghana and attended the University of Zambia School of Law. She also received a law degree from the University of California's Boalt Hall. Her father served on the supreme courts of both Ghana and Zambia. She will fill a vacancy left by Judge Ann P. Winebrenner.

Source: San Diego Daily Transcript
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