Gov. Brown Appoints New Superior Court Judges

(CN) – Outgoing California Gov. Jerry Brown filled 12 Superior Court vacancy seats across the state on Wednesday, including the first Indian-American appointed to the San Francisco County Superior Court.

Alameda County

Clifford Blakely Jr., 48, of Moraga, was appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court after serving as a deputy public defender at the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office since 2014. Blakely received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California and earned his law degree from the University of Southern California School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gloria Rhynes.

Karin Schwartz, 54, of Sacramento, was appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court after serving as a deputy director and chief counsel at the California Department of Public Health. She served in several positions at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, including as supervising deputy attorney general. Schwartz was a Supreme Court fellow at the National Association of Attorneys General and an associate at Munger, Tolles and Olson LLP and at Debevoise and Plimpton LLP from 1995 to 2000. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr College and earned her law degree from Stanford Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Ioana Petrou to the Court of Appeal.

Contra Costa County

John Devine, 53, of Walnut Creek, was appointed to the Contra Costa County Superior Court after serving as a supervising deputy attorney general at the Office of the Attorney General since 2011. He was an associate at Watson and Lanctot LLP and served as a deputy district attorney at the Marin County District Attorney’s Office. Devine did his undergraduate work at the University of California, Davis, received a Master of Arts degree from Stanford University and received his law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law. Effective Jan. 4, 2019, he will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Judith Craddick.

Fresno County

Heather Mardel Jones, 41, of Fresno, was appointed to the Fresno County Superior Court after serving as a commissioner at the Fresno County Superior Court and prior to that as an assistant U.S. attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California. Jones was an associate at Dowling, Aaron and Keeler and served as an assistant district attorney at the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office and as a staff attorney at the Supreme Court of California from 2004 to 2005. Jones served as a deputy legal affairs secretary in the Office of the Governor from 2002 to 2003. Jones received a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Fresno and earned her law degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. Effective Jan. 4, 2019, she will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge James Petrucelli.

Los Angeles County

Maria Cavalluzzi, 55, of Los Angeles, was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court after a position as managing attorney and a trial lawyer at the Law Office of Cavalluzzi and Cavalluzzi. She was a sole practitioner from 1999 to 2001 and served as a deputy public defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. Cavalluzzi earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola Marymount University and received her law degree from the Southwestern University School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge John Wiley Jr. to the Court of Appeal.

Jennifer Cops, 41, of Long Beach, was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court and previously served as a deputy district attorney at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She was an associate at Lawrence, Beach, Allen and Choi. Cops received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and earned a law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Brian Currey to the Court of Appeal.

Gail Killefer, 65, of Los Angeles, was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court and previously served as director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program at the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Previously, Killefer was an adjunct professor at the University of California, Hastings College and an assistant U.S. attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California, where she served as chief and deputy chief of the Civil Division. Killefer was an associate at Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard and McPherson and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University and earned her law degree from Vermont Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Frank Menetrez to the Court of Appeal.

Pamela Villanueva, 50, of Los Angeles, was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court after serving as a deputy public defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. Previously, Villanueva was a deputy public defender at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office. Villanueva received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley and earned her law degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on Dec. 19, 2018.

David Yaroslavsky, 36, of Los Angeles, was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court after serving as a deputy district attorney at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Previously, Yaroslavsky was an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP. Yaroslavsky received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley and earned his law degree from the New York University School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on Dec. 19, 2018.

San Francisco County

Vedica Puri, 47, of San Francisco, is the first Indian-American appointed to the San Francisco County Superior Court and previously was a partner at Pillsbury & Coleman LLP. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Xavier’s College and received her law degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Tracie Brown to the Court of Appeal.

Santa Clara County

Nicole Isger, 48, of Mountain View, was appointed to the Santa Clara County Superior Court and previously was a sole practitioner. She was a partner at Geffon and Isger and served as a deputy public defender at the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office and at the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office. Isger received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida State University and received her law degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Allison Danner to the Court of Appeal.

Solano County

Terrye Davis, 63, of Vallejo, was appointed to the Solano County Superior Court and previously served as as a commissioner at the Contra Costa County Superior Court. Davis was an associate at the Law Office of Osby Davis and served as a judge pro tem at the Solano County Superior Court. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fort Valley State University and received her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Peter Foor.

The compensation for each of these positions is $207,424.

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