The last time a Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge left his post, it took nearly a year for the governor to appoint a replacement.

Which means Superior Court Judge Rick Brown, who announced he is retiring this week, will likely be around for a while.

Darrel Parker, assistant trial courts executive officer for north county, said he received word of Brown/s retirement Monday. Brown, who was first elected to the bench in 1976, has served as a judge in Santa Barbara County for 26 years.

His retirement is effective March 1.

When a vacancy occurs mid-term 77 Brown was elected superior court judge in 1998 77 the governor can make an appointment or accept applications and select successor from there. Judges serve six-year terms.

"In the meantime, while we are waiting for the appointment to occur, we still have a caseload," Parker said.

Officials in the court administrative office must appoint someone to fill in. Most of the time, the retiring judge is selected to continue his or her duties until the appointment is made, Parker said.

In a press release issued Monday, Brown noted he plans to continue working as a retired judge for several more years.

"I am 60 and not quite ready to grab my fishing pole to retire in the traditional sense," he said. "However, by retiring now and working on assignment, I can begin the transition to a life with a less intense focus on my judicial role."

Brown said he plans to spend more time with his wife, Pamela, and their two children.

Judges on assignment receive pay for each day they work. In addition, Brown will receive retirement benefits. The amount of those benefits, or how much Brown would receive working on assignment, was not immediately available.

Brown/s successor will finish out the term and will have to be re-elected to continue serving.

* Staff writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 739-2216 or by e-mail at tmiller@pulitzer .net.

Feb. 26, 2003

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