Francis J. Hourigan has been appointed presiding judge of the South Bay Municipal Court effective Jan. 1.
Hourigan, 45, succeeds Judge Sandra Thompson. He served as a commissioner of the court from July, 1984, to October, 1985, when Gov. George Deukmejian appointed him to a judgeship.
A resident of Rancho Palos Verdes, Hourigan earned his law degree from Loyola Law School in 1968 and served as a prosecutor in the county district attorney's office before becoming a commissioner.
Presiding judges, who supervise the court's operations, are elected by their fellow judges for one-year terms. The South Bay Municipal Court serves 10 communities.