A former deputy attorney general who successfully prosecuted "Hillside Strangler" Angelo Buono Jr. in the early 1980s, Boren said he had recently noticed conservatorship appeals that troubled him, including cases that did not win on appeal.
"My colleagues and I would sometimes say, 'That guy can't prove his case, but there's something wrong here,' " he said. "We worried about that."
The panel is expected to hold its first meeting next month to plan its activities. Boren said it probably will hold hearings across the state in the next few months before submitting a preliminary report by the fall.
Boren compared his task to the one carried out by the Judicial Council in reforming children's dependency courts over the last decade. He said that those courts, which decide whether to place children in foster and adoptive homes, were considered inferior assignments by many judges and were sometimes used as "dumping grounds" for poorly performing jurists.
But enhanced resources and training for judges in recent years have helped improve the reputation of dependency courts and reduce turnover of judges, Boren said.
"It's just a whole sea change in that environment," he said. "That's probably what needs to take place here."