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President's Message

Welcome to 2016-2017!   This year the Desert Bar Association celebrates 65 years of service to the legal community – an incredible milestone. Thank you to our founders and all of the Past Presidents and Trustees who have gone before us.

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Upcoming Events

DBA Mixer    Friday, February 17, 2017; 4pm to 6pm; at Cork Tree California Cuisine, Palm Desert. DBA Members: $15; General Admission: $25.

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More events coming soon!    Be sure to check back with us.

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Save the Date

More events to come!   Be sure to check back with us.

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Past Events

Chief Justice of California Luncheon - April 2012    Photos from the Luncheon for the Chief Justice of California, April 19, 2012

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OneJustice Bus Project - April 2012    Photos from the OneJustice Bus Project - April 2-3, 2012

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Bird Awards 2011 - Beach Blanket Indio    Photos from Beach Blanket Indio, June 3, 2011.

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2011 Court of Appeal Visit    Photos from April 2011 Court of Appeal Visit

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April 2011 Cocktail Mixer    Photos from Cocktail Mixer at Cork Tree on April 20, 2011

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59th Annual Installation of Officers & Trustees    Photos from the 59th Annual Installation of Officers & Trustees on October 23, 2010

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Bird Awards 2010 - Alice in Lawyerland!    Photos from Alice in Lawyerland, June 26, 2010.

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Senior Law Day 2010    Photos from Senior Law Day 2010

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Items of Interest


The February 2017 edition of the Desert Bar Association Family Law Section Newsletter is now available for download. To download it, please click here. (Warning: the newsletter is approximately 2MB in size and could take some time to download on a slow connection.)


The votes have been tallied, and we are now happy to announce your incoming Officers and Board of Trustees of the Desert Bar Association for 2016-2017:

President - Karen J. Sloat
Vice President - Kimberly T. Lee
Secretary - Robert J. Gilliland, Jr.
Treasurer - Christoffer J. Thomsen

Natalie S. Keller

Aaron F. Garcia

David B. Greenberg

Mark J. McGowan

Anthony Valente

Rachael E. Alcorn

Breeanna S. Fujio


It is with great sadness that we must announce the passing of John Michael Evans, the eldest son of the Hon. John G. Evans. John Michael suffered a heart attack last Wednesday morning. He was surrounded by his family, when he peacefully passed away Saturday afternoon. His life will be celebrated during a private family gathering. Memorial services will be held at Christ’s Church in Urbanna, Virginia at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be in his memory to Prader-Willi California Foundation, 514 N. Prospect Ave., Suite 110, Lower Level, Redondo Beach, CA 90277 or The family thanks you all for your thoughts and prayers.


It is with deep sorrow that the Officers and Trustees of the Desert Bar Association inform you of the passing of long time DBA member and past President, Jeffery S. R. Patterson, Esq., who passed away March 25, 2016. He was 70 years old.


The Desert Bar Association knew Jeff as a treasured bird award writer and story teller, who created the Bird Awards and Distinguished Judges Night. It was as a member of the Desert Bar Association that Jeff began a long and illustrious career as the writer, director, producer, lighting coordinator, program designer, and videographer for the annual Bird Awards show. Most recently, he starred in the 2013 production of The LawFather as the head of the Desert Bar famiglia, Don Pattersoni.


After law school, Jeff embarked upon his law career at Erwin and Anderholt Law Offices in Indio, and later in Palm Desert. He began to volunteer for Desert service organizations, and was a long-time member of the Coachella Valley Lions Club, Family Services of the Desert, and the Palms to Pines Rotary Club. The Desert Bar Association also sponsored his 16-year stint as the pitcher for the much celebrated slow-pitch softball team, The Bad News Barristers. In 1986, he started his own successful law practice, and recently "retired" to spend more time on his movie hobby, football pool, and with friends and family.


Jeff is survived by his wife of 46 years, Jeanette, his brother Kevin Patterson (Susie), his daughter Deirdre Krieger (Rick), his son Caleb Patterson (Daniella), his niece Annie Patterson, and his grandchildren Cameron, Samantha, Liam, and Liliana.


Jeff loved the work done by Family Services of the Desert and its community food pantry, Food Now. He was on their board for 43 years, most recently as the Board President. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to: Family Services of the Desert, 4080 Palm Dr., Ste E, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240;


It is with sadness that we inform you of the passing of Michele Sindoni last week. Michele was the loving wife of Steve Sindoni of 34 years, and mother of two fine sons, Michael and Andrew. A memorial service will be held at St. John's Lutheran Church, 42695 Washington Street, Palm Desert, CA 92211, on April 9, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. A reception will follow at the family residence. If you wish to contact Steve, you may reach him on his cellular phone (760) 408-3481.


It is with great sadness to let you know that Florence Ross has passed away.


Florence was a legal secretary in our community for well over 50 years, starting with the Hon. Warren Slaughter, then continuing with Slaughter, Schlesinger and Schlecht, and concluding with Schlecht, Shevlin & Shoenberger.


She was a member of DPLPA since it was first chartered in 1961, serving as its President 1975-1976 and was so well-loved by members and DPLPA Presidents, that she served as Parliamentarian from 1987-2012. Florence continued to serve as DPLPA’s Hospitality Chair and always hosted their annual Christmas Party.


Click here for an article about Florence in a 2012 DPLPA Newsletter.


We are saddened to announce the death of paralegal-legal secretary Jane L. Crase, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2015, at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. Jane died from injuries sustained during an accident while riding one of her horses at her high desert home Sunday afternoon. She was a passionate horsewoman and died doing something she loved.


She joined the office of Simon Housman in 1994. For over 21 years, she was a loyal and honest employee, a teammate and Simon's best friend.


Jane was devout in her faith. In 2011 she found her calling as a member of the clergy. She was ordained first as a Deacon and six months later as a Priest by the Episcopal Church in the Diocese in Los Angeles. She served as Vicar of Saint Joseph of Arimathea Episcopal Church, which was her home congregation, in Yucca Valley.


She is preceded in death by her husband, Gary Crase.


Services are scheduled for 2:00 P.M., Saturday February 20, 2016, St. Joseph of Arimathea Episcopal Church, 56312 Onaga Trail (at Church Street), Yucca Valley, CA 92284. The interment and a reception will follow.


In lieu of flowers please donate toher favorite horse rescue charity: THE GOLDEN CARROT, 44700 Terwilliger Rd, Anza, CA 92539.


It is with deep sorrow that we inform you of the passing of David J. Erwin, who passed away on Saturday, November 7, 2015, at the age of 81, with his wife, Travis, and their two children, Scott and Stephanie, by his side.


Dave was a partner at Best Best & Krieger, LLP, having joined the firm in 1986, and served as the City Attorney for Palm Desert since that city's incorporation in 1973. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma School of Law, Dave provided legal services to numerous cities, including Indio, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City, and Needles. Dave will be remembered as one of the "greats" among the city attorney community in California, acting as a role model and mentor to a whole generation of attorneys.


Although his health had been failing him for some time, he wanted to work until he was no longer able, and got his wish to work right up until the end.


Dave was very involved in the community, serving on numerous boards, including the Boys & Girls Club of Coachella Valley and what used to be the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. He also served as a volunteer on the Board of the Desert Classic Charities, utilizing his skills in the area of estate planning by donating his time giving advice to Eisenhower's foundation department particularly in the area of planned giving.


There will be a memorial service at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, at 47535 Highway 74, Palm Desert, CA 92260, on Friday, November 20, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. The service will be open to the public.


Condolences may be sent to:

The David J. Erwin Family

Travis Erwin

45525 Navajo Road

Indian Wells, CA 92210


It is with deep sorrow that we inform you of the passing of Judge Arthur S. Block (Ret.) of the Riverside Superior Court on October 11, 2015. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, October 16, 2015, at Temple Isaiah, located at 332 West Alejo Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262. In lieu of flowers, his family has requested that donations be made to Meals on Wheels, through the Mizell Senior Center.


For anyone who missed the recent special DBA luncheon, where Dean Erwin Chemerinsky provided our members with an update on this past year's U.S. Supreme Court decisions, here is a link to it written form:


The votes have been tallied, and we are now happy to announce your incoming Officers and Board of Trustees of the Desert Bar Association for 2015-2016:

President - Julie A. Rosser
Vice President - Karen J. Sloat
Secretary - Kimberly T. Lee
Treasurer - Robert J. Gilliland, Jr.

Carlos L. Campos
Christoffer J. Thomsen
Natalie S. Keller
Aaron F. Garcia
David B. Greenberg
Mark J. McGowan
Anthony Valente


The Other Bar is a group of lawyers, judges, law students and other legal professionals who are in recovery or who seek to get into recovery from issues with alcohol and drugs. There is a meeting in Rancho Mirage at the Betty Ford Center every Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. Contact Charley R. at 760-698-8033, for details.


The family of William Nolan Cosgrove would like to express its deep appreciation to the Board of Trustees and all of the members of the Desert Bar Association who offered their condolences, prayers and offers of personal and professional assistance following Bill's untimely death. We were overwhelmed by the attendance at Bill's funeral and the numerous flowers, gifts and telephone calls, emails, sympathy cards and donations to charities in Bill's name.


With deep appreciation,

The Family of Bill Cosgrove


Ayotte & Shackelford have released their new Court & Attorney Directory for 2015-2016. You may download a copy of the directory in PDF fomat by clicking here. (Note: the PDF file is 3MB.)


ELWOOD M. RICH (November 20, 1920 - January 29, 2015)  Retired judge Elwood M. Rich (Woody) was born in Turbot, Northumberland County 20 November 1920 to George and Helen Mary Rich, who were itinerant workers in the apple orchards. He grew up in Williamsport, Lycoming County, in north-central Pennsylvania and sometimes lived with his maternal grandfather, Attorney John Wesley Group, in Rauchtown, Clinton County. In Williamsport he lived baseball and played in locally organized groups who played teams from the surrounding area. These youths were the fore-runners of the new internationally-organized Little League, begat in Williamsport.


Woody attended Williamsport High School, from which he graduated in 1939. Woody enrolled in Duke University in 1939 where he graduated and completed his first year of law school. He passed the California and Illinois Bar Exams in 1946. He never missed a day of school from junior high through law school.


After a short stint of civil practice in Glendale, he came to Riverside in 1947 and was employed by W.O. Mackey in the District Attorney's Office, where he remained until elected judge in 1952. He married Lorna Beryl Smith Jirik, daughter of Edgar Vernon Smith and Ella Elizabeth Moe in 1948 in Hemet, CA. Lorna was born 11 February 1921 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and passed away July 28, 2007.


In 1952 when he was thirty-two years old, he ran for the position of Municipal Court judge in Riverside Judicial District, was elected and served there for eighteen years with almost perfect attendance.


Woody founded what is now California Southern Law School in Riverside in 1971 and was dean of the law school until 2014.


Woody was appointed to the Riverside Superior Court in April 1971 by then Governor Ronald Reagan and retired there in November 1980. He worked two days a week as a mediator for Riverside Superior Court from 1984 until 2012 and privately in mediation and arbitration from 1981 until 2013. Throughout the years he and Lorna enjoyed extensive domestic and foreign travel and participated in many Elderhostel (now Road Scholar) adventures. Woody was a voracious reader and movie buff; he loved his long-time, simple yet responsible life in the Wood street area of Riverside. He and Lorna were generous financial supporters of Eden Lutheran Church.


Judge Rich passed away on January 29, 2015, at the age of 94. His remains will be interred in Riverside's Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery. Woody is survived by four sons, Stevan, Brian, Gregory, and Scott, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


At Woody's request there will be no formal services.


In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory will be gratefully received by Eden Lutheran Church, 4725 Brockton Avenue, Riverside 92506; Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery, P.O. Box 20544, Riverside 92516 and The Community Foundation, 3700 Sixth Street, Suite 200, Riverside 92501 (Attn: Lorna B. Rich Endowment Fund).


Effective December 1, 2014, the court will begin offering private attorneys expedited access to the courthouses in Riverside County. Members of the California Bar will be given the opportunity to apply for and receive a court-issued photo identification card. Attorneys with this type of identification will be provided expedited screening at secured court entrances. Expedited screening is defined as walking through the magnetometers and not being required to have personal items go through x-ray screening. If a private attorney does not present a valid court-issued identification badge, he or she will be subject to the same screening as members of the general public.


Attorneys will be required to provide identifying documentation in order to receive a court-issued identification card. The required identifying documentation will include a current, valid State Bar card and photo identification. A minimal processing charge of $15 will be required. This access is intended to expedite screening for counsel, which will reduce delays in court hearings due to congested lines outside the courthouse.


The program is being piloted from January through June of 2015. If, at the conclusion of the pilot the court elects to continue with the program, the identification cards will be valid for a set period of time. More information is available on the court's website. To download the electronically-fillable PDF form needed to apply fora private attorney badge, please click here.


The November 2014 edition of the Desert Bar Association Family Law Section Newsletter is now available for download. To download it, please click here. (Warning: the newsletter is approximately 4MB in size and could take some time to download on a slow connection.)


Wednesday, November 12, 2014. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the appointment of Susanne S. Cho and James T. Latting to judgeships in the Riverside County Superior Court.


Cho, 48, of Palm Desert, has been an attorney at the Law Offices of Rodney Lee Soda since 2004. She served as a deputy public defender at the Riverside County Public Defender’s Office from 1994 to 2004. Cho earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David B. Downing. Cho is a Democrat. Cho will be the first Korean American woman judge ever appointed to the Riverside County Superior Court.

Latting, 65, of Palm Desert, has been of counsel at Roemer and Harnik LLP since 2002. He was general counsel and managing general partner at Latting and Co. from 1996 to 2002 and from 1984 to 1988. Latting was a partner at George, Hull, Porter and Kohli P.S. from 1990 to 1996 and an associate at Bogle and Gates from 1988 to 1990, where he was an associate from 1979 to 1981. He was a partner at Bratcher, Owen, Latting, Teague and Owen from 1981 to 1984 and an associate at Crowe and Dunlevy from 1978 to 1979. Latting earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gary B. Tranbarger. Latting is a Democrat.


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