Mono County swears in a new judge
Gerald Mohun was sworn in on Wednesday as the ninth judge in the history of the Mono County Superior Court. He is replacing Judge Stan Eller, and will be working alongside Judge Mark Magit.
Mohun comes to the the Judiciary from the law firm, Liebersbach, Mohun, Carney and Reed.
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Mohun graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1979 and subsequently moved to Lake Tahoe to ski for a season.
There he worked as a lift operator and a server at a restaurant. “Those were the only jobs my political science degree qualified me for,” he joked.
He enrolled in Hastings Law School in San Francisco and graduated in 1983. After passing the bar he began work at a law firm in San Francisco practicing civil litigation.
In 1985, his best friend from law school, Kip Dwyer, convinced Mohun to come to the Eastern Sierra to work at what was then Paul Rudder and Ed Forstenzer’s law firm.
“I figured I would come out here for a couple years, do some skiing, then move back to the Bay Area,” he said. “I’ve stayed for 33 years.”
Over that time, Mohun saw his employers Paul Rudder and Ed Forstenzer move on to the real estate industry and the judiciary, respectively, and the firm was eventually transformed from Rudder and Forstenzer into Liebersbach, Mohun, Carney and Reid. With Mohun’s election to the judiciary, the firm is now just Liebersbach, Carney and Reed.
In those 33 years he also saw the man who brought him to the Sierra, Kip Dwyer, pass away at a young age from kidney cancer.
Mohun has accumulated extensive courtroom experience during the course of his career. He appeared in Mono and Inyo county courts, as well as appellate courts in San Francisco, working on both civil and criminal cases. While working at his private practice, he also worked as a contracted public defender for Mono County, which is small enough that it does not require a full-time public defender’s office, and so relies on contracted attorneys.
Along with having the requisite experience, those who have worked with Mohun believe he has the temperament to make a good judge.
“To be a good judge you must be intelligent, you must be knowledgable about the law, you must have a strong sense of justice, and you must want to do justice,” Paul Rudder said.
“The primary thing is this: the best judges approach judging in a very professional way and they put their own ego aside. It isn’t about their personal preferences, or their view of how the law should be, it’s about dealing with the law the way that it is written and dealing justice in a fair manner.
“Gerry will make a good judge because he makes decisions based on the law not his ego,” Rudder said. “I’ve never heard anybody say anything bad about the guy,” he added.
Mohun’s partner Rick Liebersbach said, “I was always afraid that I was going to lose him as a partner, but the people are getting a great judge.”
Liebersbach and Mohun have been working together since Mohun helped bring Liebersbach into Rudder’s firm in 1986.
“In all those years there was almost never a cross word between us,” Liebersbach said.
“He will make a great judge because he’ll listen to you, which judges need to do … He is a really great people person.”
Judge Mohun said he looks forward to all that he will learn as he begins his new role. “Like my wife Marcia said, it’s my first day of school.”
Most of all, though, he said, “I am looking forward to helping the people that come before the court.”