Lassen County finally has a new superior court judge. On Friday, Dec. 22, California Governor Jerry Brown announced the appointment of 33 superior court judges across the state — among them Susanville attorney Mark R. Nareau, 61, appointed to a judgeship in the Lassen County Superior Court.
Nareau is a veteran attorney in Susanville. Many will remember his term as Lassen County District Attorney in 1991 and 1992.
According to the governor’s announcement, in addition to his service as district attorney, Nareau was a special prosecutor for the Lassen County Prison Prosecution Program from 1987 to 1998, a deputy district attorney at the Lassen County District Attorney’s Office from 1984 to 1986 and a sole practitioner for many years.
The governor wrote Nareau earned juris doctor and bachelor of laws degrees from the Western State University College of Law, and he fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Michele Verderosa.
The governor wrote Nareau is registered without party preference.
We need another local judge
Since Verderosa’s retirement in June 2017, much of the weight of the court’s calendar has been borne by visiting judges. Due to court rules and state law, Lassen County Superior Court Presiding Judge Tony Mallery cannot single-handedly handle every case that comes up in the court.
Make no mistake — our visiting judges are completely qualified and competent and we do not disparage them in any way, but our local justice system probably works better when decisions are made by a judge who intimately understands and is connected to our community and its people.
As a veteran prosecutor and a defense attorney in our local court, Nareau is exceedingly familiar with our local practices and procedures — a depth of useful knowledge no visiting judge is likely to easily acquire.
Working both sides of the courtroom, Nareau also is likely to better understand and recognize the challenges faced by our local law enforcement agencies, the district attorney’s office as well as defense attorneys and the practices and procedures they follow. Again, a depth of knowledge a visiting judge is not likely to easily acquire.
And because he has such deep ties to our community — as an attorney, a district attorney, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, a basketball coach, a local restaurateur and a family man — he has earned a level of respect from members of the community that can only be attained through years of involvement.
The Lassen County Times broke the news of Nareau’s appointment Friday, Dec. 22 on its website and social media outlets. The news came too late to be included in the Dec. 26 issue of the newspaper.
We received many positive comments congratulating Nareau on his appointment.
We expect our judges to be fair and impartial as they make the many decisions that can affect a trial and its outcome. We also expect them to administer the law in a fair and impartial manner.
Welcome, your honor. Now make us proud.