Attorney John H. Pattie has been appointed a court commissioner whose duties will include working at the nearly vacant East County Courthouse, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Steven Z. Perren announced Tuesday.
Pattie, who will preside over Municipal and Superior Court cases, is expected to begin work at the Simi Valley facility in the next 30 days, Executive Courts Officer Sheila Gonzalez said.
Pattie could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Court commissioners act as judges in Municipal and Superior Court cases with the agreement of all parties.
The Ventura attorney will join Municipal Court Commissioner John Paventi, the only jurist working at the East County Courthouse, which has five courtrooms. Paventi presides over small-claims cases, Municipal trials and traffic-related hearings.
The new commissioner will hear family law cases and civil trials, Gonzalez said.
Pattie will be at the East County Courthouse on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and the Ventura County Courthouse on Tuesdays and Fridays, she said.
Pattie, a member of the State Bar since 1966, has practiced law in the county for 10 years, Gonzalez said. He specializes in family, criminal and juvenile law.
He has previously served as a judge pro tem for the Ventura County Superior and Municipal courts, presiding over criminal and civil cases. He has also served as an assistant district attorney and chief trial deputy for the El Dorado County district attorney's office.
Pattie's appointment drew praise from several county law officials.
"I think he is more than qualified and well-deserving," said attorney Russell Takasugi, vice president of the East Ventura County Bar Assn. "We think he's going to serve the local community well."
Takasugi said he was also pleased that Pattie's appointment means that more cases will be heard at the East County Courthouse. Because of a lack of state funds to hire additional judges or commissioners, the $11.1-million courthouse has sat mostly vacant and unused since it opened a year ago.
Pattie will be paid an annual salary of $84,402 and receive another $30,000 in benefits, court officials said.