California’s Brown Appoints 34 Superior Court Judges

The seal of the state of California outside San Bernardino County Superior Court. (Chris Marshall/CNS)

(CN) – California Gov. Jerry Brown announced the appointment of 34 new judges to state superior courts on Thursday, selecting a balance of prosecutors and defenders, court commissioners, and lawyers in private practice that reflects California’s racial and ethnic diversity – though most of the choices are Democrats.

Barbara A. Dickinson, 56, of Oakland, an assistant public defender since 2013, and public defender since 1989 has been appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court. She is a Democrat.

Monica R. Diaz, 46, of Visalia, a chief deputy district attorney at the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office since 2015, has been appointed to the Fresno County Superior Court. She was a deputy district attorney from 2000 to 2015. She is a Democrat.

Brown also appointed 10 judges to Los Angeles Superior Court: Rashida A. Adams, Brett Bianco, Bruce E. Brodie, Steve Cochran, Nicole M. Heeseman, Wesley L. Hsu, Martha A. Matthews, Victor G. Viramontes, Kerry L. White and Amy C. Yerkey.

Adams, 39, of Pasadena has been a senior appellate court attorney at the Second District Court of Appeal since 2009. She is a Democrat.

Bianco, 49, of Altadena was court counsel at the Los Angeles County Superior Court since 2001. He is a Democrat.

Brodie, 66, of Los Angeles has been chief deputy alternate public defender in the Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender’s Office since 2012 and has held several positions there since 1994. He is a Democrat.

Cochran, 60, of Los Angeles is has been a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP since 1991. He is a Democrat.

Heeseman, 44, of San Clemente has served as a commissioner at the Los Angeles County Superior Court since 2014, and was a managing research attorney at the court from 2006-2014. She has no party preference.

Hsu, 46, of Pasadena has been Deputy U.S. Attorney for the Central District since 2017. He was previously an Assistant U.S. Attorney for 17 years. He is a Democrat.

Matthews, 54, of Los Angeles is directing attorney of the Children’s Rights Project at Public Counsel. She was previously an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California from 2000 to 2004 and at the National Center for Youth Law from 1998 to 2000 and from 1991 to 1995. She has also been a law professor at UCLA Law School and USC Law. She is a Democrat.

Viramontes, 44, of Whittier is the national senior counsel at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he’s worked since 2001. He is a Democrat.

White, 60, of Pasadena has been as a head deputy district attorney at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office since 2003. He was chief prosecutor at the Pasadena City Prosecutor’s Office in 2001. He is a Democrat.

Yerkey, 43, of Long Beach was a commissioner at the Los Angeles County Superior Court since 2015, and was previously an administrative law judge at the U.S. Social Security Administration in 2015.  She was also an attorney at U.S. Customs and Border Protection from 2006 to 2008. She is a Democrat.

Beth S. Jordan, 62, of San Rafael was appointed to the Marin County Superior Court. She has been a partner at Greene Jordan Taubman and Dias LLP since 2010. She was a partner at Greene and Jordan from 2003 to 2010. She is a Democrat.

Carly B. Dolan, 44, of Ukiah, a former assistant public defender at the Mendocino County Public Defender’s Office since 2013, was appointed to a judgeship in the Mendocino County Superior Court. She is a Democrat.

Jeanne E. Schechter, 54, of La Grange, a commissioner at the Merced County Superior Court since 2012, has been appointed to the Merced County Superior Court.  She was chief deputy city attorney at the Merced City Attorney’s Office from 2004 to 2012. She is a Republican.

Scott B. Cooper, Andre De La Cruz and Katherine E. Lewis were appointed to the Orange County Superior Court.

Cooper, 48, of Irvine has been managing attorney at the Cooper Law Firm since 2007. He was a partner at Cooper, Jones and Cooper LLP from 2003 to 2006. He is registered without a party preference.

De La Cruz, 42, of Fullerton has been of counsel at Troutman Sanders LLP since 2016. He was a senior associate at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter and Hampton LLP from 2013 to 2016 and at Dickstein Shapiro LLP from 2012 to 2013. He has no party preference.

Lewis, 47, of Huntington Beach has been a commissioner at the Orange County Superior Court since 2016. She was previously a deputy public defender at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office from 1996 to 2016. She is a Democrat.

Godofredo (O.G.) Magno and Randall S. Stamen were appointed to the Riverside County Superior Court.

Magno, 47, of Riverside has been a supervising deputy public defender and unit lead attorney at the Riverside County Public Defender’s Office since 2014, where he served as a deputy public defender from 1998 to 2014. He is a Democrat.

Stamen, 50, of Riverside has been a sole practitioner since 1994, and was an associate at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Miller in 1994 and at Reid and Hellyer from 1992 to 1994. He is a Republican.

Michael A. Camber and Michelle H. Gilleece were appointed to the San Bernardino County Superior Court.

Camber, 57, of Brea, has been a chief deputy public defender at the San Bernardino County Public Defender’s Office since 2013, and was supervising deputy public defender from 2006 to 2013. He is a Democrat.

Gilleece, 47, of Riverside has been a partner at Friedman and Gilleece since 2004. She was previously partner at the Law Offices of Gilleece Pico and Stockdale from 2012 to 2013 and an adjunct professor at the University of La Verne, College of Law in 2011. She is a Democrat.

Edlene C. McKenzie and James E. Simmons, both of San Diego were appointed to the San Diego County Superior Court.

McKenzie, 56, has been a commissioner at the San Diego County Superior Court since 2005. She has no party preference.

Simmons, 37, has been a deputy district attorney at the San Diego District Attorney’s Office since 2006. He is a Democrat.

Teresa M. Caffese and Eric R. Fleming were appointed to the San Francisco County Superior Court.

Caffese, 57, of San Francisco has been a sole practitioner since 2011, and previously held several positions at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office from 1987 to 2011. She is a Democrat.

Fleming, 51, of Redwood City has been managing attorney at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office since 2012, where he was an assistant district attorney from 2004 to 2012. He is a Democrat.

Hernaldo J. Baltodano and Jesse L. Marino, both of San Luis Obispo, were appointed to the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court.

Baltodano, 41, has been a partner at Baltodano and Baltodano LLP since 2011. He was also a senior associate at Sanchez and Amador LLP from 2010 to 2011, at Anderson McPharlin and Conners LLP in 2010 and at Robins Kaplan Miller and Ciresi from 2006 to 2009. He is a Democrat.

Marino, 46, has been a deputy district attorney at the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office since 2004. He is a Democrat.

Nancy L. Fineman, 57, of Burlingame, a partner at Cotchett Pitre and McCarthy LLP since 1996, was appointed to the San Mateo County Superior Court. She is a Democrat.

Nahal Iravani-Sani, 48, of San Jose, a deputy district attorney at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office since 1995, was appointed to the Santa Clara County Superior Court. She is a Democrat.

Jennifer V. Dollard, 50, of Santa Rosa was appointed to the Sonoma County Superior Court, where she has been a commissioner since 2014. She was a commissioner at the Shasta County Superior Court from 2007 to 2014. She has no party preference.

Stacy P. Speiller, 37, of Oakdale was appointed to the Stanislaus County Superior Court. She has been a partner at Cash-Dudley Speiller and Torres since 2010, and an associate at E.F. Cash-Dudley from 2004 to 2009. She is a Democrat.

Robin L. Wolfe, 48, of Visalia was appointed to the Tulare County Superior Court. She has been a deputy district attorney at the Kern County District Attorney’s Office since 2005 and was a deputy public defender at the Tulare County Public Defender’s Office from 1995 to 2005. She is a Democrat.

JoAnn Johnson, 59, of Lancaster was appointed to the Ventura County Superior Court, where she has been a commissioner since 2010. She was also a supervising court attorney from 2002 to 2010. She has no party preference.

The judgeships pay $200,042 a year.

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