Welcome! In this new monthly feature, we’ll cover news, gossip, and information you need to know about the Marin County legal and judicial community. Send your questions and news items directly to me. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll get it for you. Let’s get started!

Q: Are there openings on the Marin County bench?

A: Yes. There is one current opening, created by the retirement of Terrence Boren, which will be likely filled by a judicial appointment. (Or not. Apparently Governor Brown thinks Marin is already over-judged.) So far, the applications from two local lawyers have been sent by the governor’s office to the Judicial Nominee Evaluation (JNE) commission. One is Tom McCallister, a deputy district attorney. The other is Beth Jordan, a family law specialist. Each ran for the seat filled last year, after a runoff election, by judge Sheila Lichtblau. Although review by JNE is a prerequisite to appointment, there is no obligation by the governor to appoint either. If there is no appointment before the empty seat expires, it will be filled by an open election.

Q: Who’s moving where?

A: Mike Coffino has left the Marin PD’s office and joined Doug Horngrad’s criminal defense firm in San Francisco. Mike was with the PD’s office for over 14 years. Will Morehead has left the Marin District Attorney’s Office and opened his own firm in San Anselmo. Ashling McAnaney, a former land use and litigation associate with John Sharp, has joined the Ragghianti Freitas firm in downtown San Rafael. Landlord-tenant attorney Vincent deMartini, of DeMartini and Walker, has added another powerful weapon to his firm’s arsenal by bringing on Neusha Ghaedi as an associate.

Q: What’s happening with Resolution Remedies?

A: Ownership of ADR panel Resolution Remedies has changed hands, from Perry Litchfield to Gary Ragghianti. ResRem no longer operates out of the top floor of Courthouse Square. Mediations and arbitrations will take place in the new space on Caledonia Street in Sausalito, or at a number of other offices throughout the County. For now, the panel has been pared to eight. In addition to Mr. Ragghianti, panelists include retired judges Richard Breiner, Mike Dufficy, and Vern Smith, and attorneys Larry Baskin, Barbara Monty, Bruce Wold, and Matt White (that’s me). Cherie Sinclair stays on as Executive Director.

Q: Is Ed Berberian retiring? Who will take over his job?

A: Yes; unknown. Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian has announced that he will not run for re-election when his term ends at the end of next year. Three candidates have already taken out papers and are running hard. A.J. Brady and Lori Frugoli are currently assistant DA’s in Marin; Anna Pletcher is a former U.S. Attorney. The primary election will be in June; if no candidate gets a majority vote, the top two finishers move on to the November general election. Keep it tuned here for more details and updates.

Q: Did Jon Rankin really write a book?

A: Yes. Tiburon attorney and man-about-town Jon Rankin is celebrating the publication of his debut crime novel, “Running from the Sunrise.” It is described as a “hard-boiled detective story…of love, fear, horror, and revenge--a thriller sure to leave you breathless from start to finish.” Read the book and let us know if you agree. Jon’s book-signing event at Book Passage was SRO.

Q: How did Damon Connolly do in Senator Mike McGuire’s annual World Championship Pie-Eating Contest in late August?

A: He tied for first place. Photographic evidence is on Damon’s Facebook page. (Warning: Graphic content.) Damon is a member of the Marin County Board of Supervisors for District 1 (San Rafael).

Q. What can I, the reader, do to make this a more exciting, news- and gossip-packed column?

A. Let me know what’s going on with you, or with other members of our community. Please share your achievements, musical gigs, courtroom victories, new jobs, and reconstituted partnerships. All items cheerfully considered. Send me items!