The United States District Court for the Central District of California announces the appointment of Michael R. Wilner as a United States Magistrate Judge. Judge Wilner was appointed on April 1, 2011, filling the position vacated by Magistrate Judge Carolyn Turchin, who retired in May 2010. Judge Wilner will sit in Los Angeles in the Court’s Western Division.
Prior to his appointment as a Magistrate Judge, Judge Wilner served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and a Deputy Chief in the Major Frauds Section of the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles since 2000. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he served as a civil enforcement attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Los Angeles from 1995 to 2002, and was appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2000. Prior to entering federal service, Judge Wilner was a litigation associate at Proskauer Rose LLP in Century City from 1991 to 1994.
Judge Wilner received his B.A. degree from Dartmouth College in 1988, and his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1991, graduating with honors. While in law school, he served as a summer law clerk for the Honorable Norma L. Shapiro, Senior U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in 1989.
Including the appointment of Judge Wilner, the Central District of California has 24 authorized full-time and one part-time Magistrate Judge positions. The duties of Magistrate Judges include conducting preliminary proceedings in criminal cases, the trial and disposition of misdemeanor cases, conducting discovery and various other pretrial hearings in civil cases, the trial and disposition of civil cases upon consent of the litigants, and other matters as may be assigned. Magistrate Judges are appointed for a term of eight years, and can be reappointed to additional terms.
The Magistrate Judge position requires a minimum of five years as a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a state, and at least five years of active practice of law. The rigorous selection process, which is governed by statute and by regulations adopted by the Judicial Conference of the United States, includes detailed background reviews and interviews before a Merit Selection Panel consisting of attorneys and non-attorney public representatives. The Panel refers candidates to the District Court, where interviews are conducted by the District Court’s Magistrate Judges Committee. The top candidates are then referred to the full Court for review, selection, and appointment.
The Central District of California is comprised of the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo, and serves approximately 18.5 million people – more than half the population of the state of California. In 2010, more than 15,000 cases were filed in the District.
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