With one week left in his term, Gov. George Deukmejian on Monday appointed two judges to the Orange County Superior and Municipal courts, bringing to five the number of judges named in the last month.
Ronald L. Bauer, 49, was named to the Orange County Superior Court, where he has worked as a commissioner since 1984. Last summer, 125 of Bauer’s colleagues signed a petition commending his work and urging the governor to appoint him to the bench.
“It read like almost a who’s who of the local civil lawyers,” said 4th District Appellate Court Justice Edward J. Wallin, who joined former California Supreme Court Justice Marcus M. Kaufman and other local luminaries in signing the petition.
Bauer replaces Judge Manuel A. Ramirez, who was elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Also on Monday, Frederick Paul Horn, 47, a prosecutor and former Santa Monica police sergeant, was appointed to the Orange County Harbor District Municipal Court. Horn replaces Judge John M. Watson, whom Deukmejian elevated to the Orange County Superior Court last month.
Horn has been a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney since 1974 and is currently prosecuting eight people accused of slaying Fullerton Police Officer Tommy De La Rosa during an undercover drug sting last summer.
“He’s really had a chance to see the criminal justice system from a number of different sides, from that of a police officer as well as that of an attorney,” said his superior, head Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Schirn. “I think that can be very helpful in deciding cases.”
Horn is married to Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Carolyn Kirkwood.
On Friday, Carla M. Singer, 43, of Huntington Beach, a longtime Orange County and federal prosecutor, was appointed to the Orange County North District Municipal Court in Fullerton.
Singer, a Minnesota native, is on leave from her job as an Orange County deputy district attorney and is currently a research attorney for 4th District Appellate Court Justice Henry T. Moore.
As a prosecutor, Singer specialized in white-collar fraud. From 1979 to 1986, as a deputy attorney general in Los Angeles and San Francisco, she was principally assigned to Medi-Cal fraud cases. She joined the Orange County district attorney’s office in 1986 and also prosecuted several major medical fraud cases.
“She’ll make a very good judge,” said Orange County Superior Court Judge Kathleen E. O’Leary. “She’s extremely conscientious, very hard-working. She actually gets enthusiastic about things that frustrate other people. I think she’ll give them 110%.”
On Dec. 27, Deukmejian elevated Judge Frank F. Fasel, a municipal judge for the West Orange County Judicial District, to the Orange County Superior Court. Like Bauer, Fasel had spent nine years as a commissioner for the Superior Court--experience that colleagues said earned both men wide respect and prepared them for the bench.
“They are both excellent commissioners, and they are already doing the same kind of work they were doing as judges,” said Superior Court Judge Everett W. Dickey.
Bauer was often asked to issue emergency orders, requiring him to make on-the-spot rulings on complex legal issues. But Wallin and others said Bauer’s decisions were rarely reversed.
Last summer, Bauer’s colleagues began wondering why the respected commissioner, who was hired by the Orange County Superior Court judges, had been repeatedly passed over by Deukmejian for the bench.
On Monday, Bauer said he was grateful for the support but could not say whether the petition influenced the governor.
“I don’t know whether the timing is very clear in a case like this,” he said. “There’s always a lot of candidates that are ready, willing, and very, very able to accept appointments like this. It just happened that my number came up now.”
A native of Altoon, Pa., Bauer graduated from the University of Virginia Law School in 1965 and did a stint as general counsel for the Western Center on Law and Poverty from 1972 to 1974. For the next 10 years, he was a litigator with the Santa Ana law firm of McGuire, Bauer & Walker.
A former marathon runner and soccer coach, Bauer lives in an unincorporated area near Tustin with his wife, a schoolteacher, and three children.