Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, August 13, 2002


Page 3


Davis Appoints Judges to Trial Courts in Four Counties Around State


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Gov. Gray Davis yesterday appointed judges to superior courts in Kern, Merced, Fresno and Santa Clara counties.

Named were attorneys Robert Tafoya of Bakersfield, Hilary Chittick of Fresno, Ronald Hansen of Merced, and James P. Kleinberg of East Palo Alto.

Tafoya, 51, was appointed to the Kern Superior Court. He is a certified family law specialist and president of the Kern County Bar Association.

Tafoya graduated from Cal State Sacramento, earned a master’s degree from USC and his law degree from Hastings College of the Law at UC San Francisco. He began his legal career by helping to found the Organization for the Legal Advancement of Raza in 1979. In 1982 he became a Kern County deputy public defender, then helped form the Vista law firm of Rawson and Tafoya in 1985 and joined the Bakersfield firm of Chain, Younger, Cohn & Stiles in 1995.

Chittick, 48, was appointed to the Fresno Superior Court. A partner in the firm of Gilmore, Wood, Vinnard, Chittick & Magness, she practices commercial litigation but also represents indigent defendants in federal criminal cases.

Chittick graduated from UC San Diego and earned her law degree from Hastings. She was a Fresno deputy public defender before joining her current firm in 1989.

She is a past president of Fresno County Women Lawyers and a former board member of California Women Lawyers.

Hansen, 54, was named to the Merced Superior Court after a 29-year career at the firm now known as Canelo, Hansen, Wilson, Wallace & Padron. He is a past president of the Merced County Bar Association.

Hansen earned both his undergraduate and his graduate degrees from the University of Santa Clara.

Kleinberg, 59, was appointed to the Santa Clara Superior Court following 35 years in government and private practice.

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh and earning his law degree from the University of Michigan, Kleinberg went to work in 1967 for the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division. He then went to the San Francisco firm of Petty, Andrews, Tufts & Jackson and became the firm’s managing partner, staying there until 1983, when he joined the firm of McCutcheon, Doyle, Brown & Enerson.

The firm is now known as Bingham McCutcheon.

Kleinberg has been listed in “Best Lawyers in America” since 1987.

Davis has appointed or elevated 219 jurists since he took office in 2000, and 41 this year alone. But the vacancies continue to outpace the governor. There are 55 open spots on superior courts around the state, plus seven on the Court of Appeal, out of a total authorized number of 1,610 judges and justices.

After a salary increase that took effect July 1, superior court judges now earn $139,476 a year.


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company