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First Latino Justice|Named to Fifth District

(CN) - California's Fifth District Court of Appeal could see its first Latino associate justice if a commission approves Gov. Jerry Brown's appointment of Superior Court Judge Rosendo Pena.

Pena, 57, will replace retired Justice Betty L. Dawson.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Senior Presiding Justice Brad Hill comprise the commission tasked with confirming Pena's appointment.

The Democrat from Fresno earned his bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno and his juris doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. He served as a senior research attorney for the Fifth District Court of Appeal from 1983 to 1990, before serving as a deputy state public defender at the State Public Defender's Office from 1981 to 1983.

Pena moved on from there to become a deputy attorney general at the Criminal Division of the California Department of Justice from 1990 to 1992, and then an associate at Hernandez and Ramirez from 1992 to 1994. He returned to the Fifth District in 1994, again serving as a senior research attorney until 2002 when became a judge for the Fresno Superior Court.

He will earn an annual salary of $204,599.

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