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July 17, 2002


Commissioner Michael L. Kanninen Retires
from the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda.
After eighteen years in the Judicial Branch of Government

Court Commissioner Michael L. Kanninen of the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, has announced his retirement, effective July 16, 2002, after eighteen years of service presiding over criminal, except felony matters, and civil cases, including arraignments, sentencings, traffic, jury trials, pretrials and motions. He was on contract with the Fremont Hall of Justice in Fremont from July 1, 1984 until July 1, 1986, when his status changed from that of an independent contractor to that of a regular county payroll employee. In May 1998, Commissioner Kanninen transitioned to the Position of Court Commissioner of the Superior Court during the unification of the Superior Court with the Municipal Courts which was formalized on July 31, 1998. Commissioner Kanninen is a member of the Civil Committee of the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda.

Commissioner Kanninen received his Juris Doctor degree from Hastings College of the Law in June 1971, and became a member of the Bar of California in January 1972. In 1961, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago. He planned to enter the Foreign Service after graduation, but joined the United States Navy instead.

After law school, Commissioner Kanninen worked in private practice from 1972 - 1982, when he entered the Navy Reserves and served in the Judge Advocate General Corps where he attained the rank of Captain. In August 1996, Commissioner Kanninen was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the President of the United States of America for outstanding meritorious service from October 1990 through September 1995, in the Judge Advocate General's Corp. In 1962, Commissioner Kanninen received a Vietnam Defense Ribbon with three stars and Armed Forces Reserve Medal.

Commissioner Kanninen's personal interests included bass singer at Ohlone Community College Choir, served as President of the Second Chance Community Crisis Center, District Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America and President of the Newark Chamber of Commerce. Upon his retirement, Commissioner Kanninen is planning to travel and spend more time with his family.

Harry R. Sheppard, Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda stated, "Commissioner Kanninen has distinguished himself in both criminal and civil assignments over the past 18 years. His contributions to the Court have been numerous and all members of the bench and bar will miss his effervescent personality."

The contact for this information release is Joanne Lederman, Assistant Executive Officer, Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, (510) 272-6515.

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