Civil attorney wants to serve community as judge

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Civil attorney wants to serve community as judge By Quintin Cushner — Staff Writer 2/24/04 Santa Maria civil lawyer James Rigali said a desire to serve the public is driving his candidacy. “The position of judge means a lot to people,” Rigali said. “I want to offer my services to safeguard that.” Rigali, 42, is the corporate treasurer at Kirk & Simas Law Firm, which has offices in Santa Maria and Lompoc. Though his expertise is in business and real estate, Rigali said he also is active in civil litigation, estate planning and trust administration, and family law. “You don’t specialize in Santa Maria and make a living and feed your children,” he said of his variety of experience. As a side job, Rigali co-owns Palm Realty in Grover Beach with his sister, Justine Rigali. Before moving to Santa Maria in 1991, Rigali worked at Burke, Williams and Sorensen, a mid-size firm in Los Angeles that specialized in representing public agencies in civil cases. He left to found a real estate law firm in Santa Maria with lawyer Mark Henbury. That professional partnership lasted until 1994, when Rigali joined Kirk & Simas. A Republican from Orcutt, Rigali is married to Anne Rigali, a stay-at-home mom, and they have six children. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and Santa Clara University’s law and business schools. Rigali, 42, believes his business and administrative experience distinguishes him from the other judge candidates. He believes he would excel at helping to sort out logistical issues in the courts, ranging from the Michael Jackson criminal proceedings to the current budget shortfall. When asked how he would serve as a criminal court judge when he has no criminal experience, Rigali said he would have no trouble making the adjustment, and noted that he’s been endorsed by the Santa Barbara Police Officer’s Association. Rigali previously served on the Santa Barbara County Human Services Commission, which makes recommendation about how funds should be distributed to nonprofit organizations, and as co-president of the Northern Santa Barbara County Bar Association. He is also director of the Santa Maria Rotary Club and a former district deputy of the Knights of Columbus in northern Santa Barbara County. He’s endorsed by retiring Santa Barbara County Judge Barbara Beck, Santa Barbara County Judge Rodney Melville and 5th District Supervisor Joe Centeno. Staff writer Quintin Cushner can be reached at 739-2217 or by e-mail at :nav Source:

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