A Newport Coast resident and Los Angeles County deputy district attorney was appointed to the Superior Court bench this week by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Richard Goul, 48, now leads the sexual assault unit in the Long Beach branch of the district attorney's office.
He will fill the vacancy on the bench left by the death of Judge Robert Sandoval, according to a Wednesday news release from the governor's office.
"I was taken a bit by surprise," Goul said. "I'm very excited about the opportunity to continue the commitment I have to justice on a different level."
Goul has worked for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office since 1989.
Although Goul said he's looking forward to his new position, there's much he'll miss about working in the district, including the camaraderie between prosecutors and law enforcement officers.
"I'm going to miss the challenge of putting together a criminal case and convicting a defendant," Goul said.
Goul recalled the case of a Belmont Shore rapist as one of the most significant he's worked on.
Goul prosecuted the case, which resulted in a Long Beach man being sentenced to more than 1,000 years in prison for raping 14 women over a five-year period, according to the district attorney's office.
Goul worked on the investigation for several years and remembered going out in the middle of the night to interview victims at crime scenes.
"I will look back with very vivid memories of that hunt for the Belmont Shore rapist," Goul said.
Before starting his career with the district attorney's office, he studied journalism at USC and worked as a reporter for Hearst community newspapers.
His wife, Karen Thorp, is a Newport Beach native, and they've lived here together since 1997. They are the parents of 9-year-old triplets, Edward, Christopher and Claire.