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Mayor Robinson Is Named Judge

Costa Mesa official is the first black woman appointed to the bench in O.C.

March 27, 2003|Seema Mehta | Times Staff Writer

Gov. Gray Davis on Wednesday announced the appointment of Costa Mesa Mayor Karen L. Robinson as a judge of the Orange County Superior Court, making her the first black woman appointed to the bench in the county.

Robinson said she learned of the appointment Friday.

"I lost my breath for a minute. Tears came streaming down my eyes, and I said, 'Oh my gosh, thank you,' " she said. "I am so thrilled that I gained the governor's trust and confidence for this appointment."

The 39-year-old Louisville, Ky., native currently supervises five attorneys as the litigation counsel coordinator for the 23-campus California State University system. Robinson also serves as a judge pro tempore for the county's Municipal and Superior courts, presiding over small-claims cases, and works as a court-appointed arbitrator.

The appointment is not the first time Robinson has broken down barriers. Robinson was elected to the Costa Mesa City Council in 2000 and named mayor in 2002. Both were firsts for an African American.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday April 15, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 61 words Type of Material: Correction
Costa Mesa mayor -- An article in the Orange County Edition of the California section March 27 incorrectly reported that Costa Mesa Mayor Karen L. Robinson will remain on the City Council after accepting a seat on the Orange County Superior Court bench. By law, a judge cannot hold another elected position; Robinson plans to step down from the council today.

Robinson earned undergraduate and law degrees from UCLA.

Superior Court judges are typically elected. The appointment, which has an annual salary of $139,476, fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Stuart Waldrip in July. It runs through March 2004, when an election will be held to fill the post.

She will remain on the council.

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