Humboldt County Superior Court has announced the selection of Michael P. Eannarino as the new Court Commissioner, effective Dec. 1. Eannarino is following Commissioner Joyce Hinrichs who has been elected to fill a retiring judge's position and will be seated as a Judge effective Jan. 2, 2009. Prior to this appointment, Eannarino has worked at the Public Defender's Office since 1995.
Court Commissioner positions are approved by the Judicial Council but they are selected by, and serve at the pleasure of, the Superior Court Judges. A Judge is an elected position and the Court Commissioner is appointed by the Judges. A Court Commissioner can hear many of the same matters as a judge, but sometimes the parties must stipulate that a Commissioner can hear their case.
The current Commissioner, Joyce Hinrichs, has been in this position since the Judicial Council authorized it in 1997. Commissioner Hinrichs ran for Judge J. Michael Brown's position last June because he is retiring in December 2008 after 26 years on the bench.
The Presiding Judge, John T. Feeney, commented that these changes are very exciting for the Court. He went on to say "we are delighted that Commissioner Hinrichs has been elected to fill Judge Brown's vacancy and that Mr. Eannarino has accepted the position as Court Commissioner."