VENTURA : Municipal Court Picks Commissioner

A Ventura civil lawyer has been elevated to the post of Ventura County Municipal Court commissioner at the Simi Valley Courthouse to oversee traffic and small claims cases from eastern Ventura County.

A panel of the county's judges sifted through 127 applicants, including other commissioners and prominent Ventura County attorneys, before choosing attorney David W. Long, 52. He will replace departing Commissioner John V. Paventi, whose retirement takes effect Nov. 1.

The panel interviewed 10 semifinalists and eliminated six. The entire Ventura County bench interviewed the final four and chose Long, Superior Court Judge Melinda A. Johnson said.

The final four candidates included Long, Ventura County Deputy Dist. Atty. Gary Barrett, veteran defense attorney James M. Farley and Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner Karen Nudell, Johnson said.

"We could not have gone wrong with any of the last 10 candidates," Johnson said Tuesday. "We had just tons and tons of wonderful people applying."

Long has helped the county whittle down its pretrial caseload by volunteering as an arbitrator from time to time. Arbitrators try to help parties settle their lawsuits before they reach the courts under new laws that require suits to go to trial within one year of filing, Johnson said.

"David has a reputation of good work and high standards," she said. "He's happy, he's very enthusiastic. I'm sure he's hitting the books right now."

Long turned to law full time after working 16 years handling insurance claims and seven years as a paralegal investigator for the law firm where he now works. He passed the bar exam in 1983 after studying for his law degree at Ventura College of Law.

He represents clients on both the plaintiffs' and defendants' sides of civil lawsuits, and has experience in criminal defense work.

Long, a Ventura resident since 1957, said of his work as a volunteer arbitrator helping others settle their disputes: "I find an enormous amount of satisfaction in it."

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