Sonoma County Superior Court has just closed its application period for the position of court commissioner.
Commissioners are like regular judges but they are appointed by local judges instead of the governor. They must have been lawyers for at least 10 years and they are paid an annual salary of $156,000.
That’s 85 percent of what a regular judge makes.
Like judges, they oversee criminal and civil cases. Mostly, they handle misdemeanors, family law and traffic court cases. But they don’t have to run for re-election.
Typically, Sonoma County has had three, full-time commissioners rounding out its 20-judge bench. The court lost one late last year when former Commissioner Larry Ornell was appointed judge by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Fifty-five people applied for the open spot by deadline earlier this month. A selection committee will look over the pool and select those it wishes to interview.
Jose Guillen, the court’s executive officer, said the names of the applicants are being kept private.
The goal is to make a final selection by October, he said.

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