Carrozzo, 48, of Santa Barbara has been with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office since 2007 and previously served as a special assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, U.S. Army captain and judge advocate at Fort Irwin, and a private attorney.
He was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday, Superior Court announced.
He worked closely with Eskin to start the Veterans Treatment Court, which serves veterans in the justice system who are struggling with addiction and serious mental illness. It matches them up with treatment and intervention rather than incarceration and graduated its first class in November.
Carrozzo also worked on the high-profile Tibor Karsai case, arguing to keep the sex predator under 24/7 supervision for his conditional release from a state hospital.
The compensation for this position is $181, 292.
“I’m thrilled, I’m very humbled and very honored by it,” Carrozzo said.
“It’s really something that I take very seriously. I’m very excited about the opportunity and really want to work hard to serve the court and community – and be an advocate for the openness of the courts and civility, and making sure justice is served and everybody feels they can come to court and be accepted and have their fair day in court.”
Applying for a judicial appointment seemed like the next step for his career, after being a lawyer for 22 years, he said.
“I thought that my character traits seemed to fit in this type of role because I really do see both sides of a case. In fact, for the last two or three years I’ve been a reserve officer in the Army assigned as defense counsel. I’ve been prosecuting people by day and defending them by night.”
Superior Court Presiding Judge Arthur Garcia will decide which courtroom Carrozzo gets assigned.
He will be sworn in on Monday at a countywide judges meeting and then go through two weeks of orientation, Superior Court executive officer Darrel Parker said.
"We're very happy to have Mike," he said. "We go through a few weeks of orientation for each judicial officer so they can transition from their role in front of the bench to their role behind the bench."
Carrozzo will shadow judges throughout the county, learn behind-the-scenes operations and then get a court calendar of his own. He'll also go to a new judges college course run out of Reno after he's had some experience.
"It's a lot of information all at once that's more useful once they have more experience," Parker said.
The court still has a vacancy in the Santa Maria courthouse, where retired Judge Rick Brown has been filling in since the March 2013 death of Judge Ed Bullard.
The appointment process can take 18 months, but Parker has heard that candidates are being interviewed.