Local attorney named court commissioner

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Local attorney named court commissioner By Karen White/Correspondent Santa Maria attorney John McGregor has been named court commissioner for the North County Superior Court. He takes the place of Art Garcia, recently named a Superior Court judge in place of the retiring Rick Brown. It is unknown when McGregor will take the bench, because he must first wrap up his private legal work. Rodney Melville, presiding Superior Court judge, announced the new commissioner. “He is an excellent selection,” Melville said, pointing to “John’s real experience in criminal law. He is a highly acceptable candidate.” Melville expects both Garcia and McGregor to take on their new duties sometime in December. Brown is now starting a murder trial that will continue through Nov. 14. Garcia must first help train McGregor, who will take over the Department 9 arraignment calendar. Then Garcia and Brown must spend two weeks together, Melville said. McGregor has served the last five years on the conflict defense team for the county, which represents persons when there is any type of conflict with the public defender’s office. McGregor serves in this group with Michael Scott and David Bixby. Bixby handles juvenile cases. A native of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., McGregor first earned his degree from Fairfield University in Connecticut. He came west to study law at Pepperdine University in 1977, then began work as an attorney in Southern California in 1980. McGregor and his wife both came from Connecticut to California and she worked as a nurse. Her transfer to a medical facility on the Central Coast brought them to Santa Maria. They have three daughters. All 19 of the judges of Santa Barbara County participated in selecting McGregor from a group of 13 candidates from Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, Melville said. Judges advertised the opening only in Santa Barbara County, Melville said, mostly because last time some 200 candidates appeared. Melville said he also believes “people are more comfortable when they know the people” who are candidates. A retirement party for Brown is planned Oct. 26. For information, call Marcia Bradley at 934-4600. Oct. 18, 2003 :nav Source: http://www.santamariatimes.com/articles/2003/10/18/news/local/news14.txt

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