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Colleen Sterne Named to Succeed McLafferty on Superior Court

Schwarzenegger taps Santa Barbara County family-law commissioner to fill judicial vacancy

Colleen Sterne, a longtime Santa Barbara County family-law commissioner, has been appointed to fill the judgeship vacated earlier this month by the death of Superior Court Judge William McLafferty.

Colleen Sterne
Colleen Sterne

McLafferty died Jan. 15 after a month-long illness. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Sterne’s appointment Thursday.

“The reality of the appointment is just sinking in,” Sterne told Noozhawk. “It is such an honor to be chosen, and very meaningful to me that I should be following Judge McLafferty.

“Being a judge is an important public trust, and my hope is that I will both pursue excellence in the law and do equity, keeping faith with the community that has accorded me the great privilege to serve in this capacity.”

Sterne, 51, of Santa Barbara, has served as a Superior Court commissioner since 2003. She was a Superior Court candidate in 2002, but lost to Brian Hill in a run-off election. Prior to that she had a dispute-resolution law practice from 2002 to 2003 and previously was a partner in Henderson & Borgeson of Santa Barbara.

She earned her law degree from Santa Barbara College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from UCSB.

Sterne, a registered “Decline to State” voter, will hold the seat until 2012, at which time she would have to run in the general election to remain on the bench.

Compensation for the position is $178,789 annually.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk.

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