Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, October 6, 2003


Page 3


Davis Names William Dato, ‘Woody’ Clarke to Bench


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Gov. Gray Davis Friday named a well-known civil appellate lawyer and a member of the O.J. Simpson prosecution team to the San Diego Superior Court.

The appointments of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach partner William S. Dato and Deputy District Attorney George “Woody” Clarke to the San Diego Superior Court bring to seven the number of trial judges appointed by Davis in the week preceding tomorrow’s recall election.

Dato, 48, is a certified appellate specialist who has handled major cases involving class actions, stockholder derivative cases, private attorney general suits, and antitrust and unfair business practice cases. A graduate of San Diego State University and UCLA Law School, he was a research attorney for the California Supreme Court from 1980 to 1981 and California Court of Appeal from 1981 to 1982 and from 1984 to 1994.

He joined Milberg Weiss in 1982, then returned to the Court of Appeal before rejoining to the law firm nine years ago. He is an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law and at the California Western School of Law.

He has been active in the San Diego County Bar Association and served as chair of the Committee on Administration of Justice of the State Bar of California. He will fill the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Joan Irion to the Court of Appeal.

Clarke, 52, is a nationally recognized expert on the use of DNA and other scientific evidence in criminal cases. He became a familiar figure during Simpson’s internationally televised 1995 trial, having been loaned to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office to assist in handling the presentation of DNA evidence.

He currently handles serious felony cases and serves as the coordinator of the San Diego DNA Project, which reviews cases of previously convicted and imprisoned inmates, and as the coordinator of the San Diego County Program for the investigation and DNA testing of unsolved sexual assault cases. He also assists in the drafting of state and federal legislation and training of attorneys, judicial officers, law enforcement, scientists, legislators, students and others on the use of DNA evidence.

He was named 2003 Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year by the California District Attorneys Association and 2003 Prosecutor of the Year by the San Diego Deputy District Attorneys Association. He has served as chair of the Criminal Justice Committee of the San Diego County Bar Association.

A graduate of  UC San Diego and the University of San Diego School of Law, Clarke was a research attorney for the San Diego Superior Court from 1978 to 1982, then when he joined the San District Attorney’s Office. He succeeds Judge Dana Sabraw, who was confirmed last week to serve as judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

On Wednesday, the governor named Assistant U.S. Attorney Yvonne Esperanza Campos and San Diego estates and trusts lawyer Julia Craig Kelety to the San Diego Superior Court.

Campos, 39, has been a federal prosecutor in San Diego since 1995 and is currently a deputy chief in the General Crimes Section. She previously worked in narcotics enforcement, and was one of the prosecutors in Operation Tarpit, a successful prosecution which led to the dismantling of one of the largest heroin smuggling networks operating in the United States.

She is a former White House fellow who practiced in the Los Angeles office of Morrison & Foerster from 1989 to 1992. In 1991, she was loaned by that firm to the staff of the Christopher Commission, which recommended reforms in the Los Angeles Police Department.

A graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, she has served on the boards of California Common Cause and California Rural Legal Assistance.

Kelety is a partner in a San Diego firm and a graduate of the University of Arizona and Cornell Law School.

On Tuesday, Davis named Solano County Deputy District Attorneys Robert S. Bowers and Michael Mattice as judges of the Solano Superior Court. Those selections followed the appointment on Monday of Leslie G. Landau, managing partner of the San Francisco office of Bingham McCutchen, as judge of the Contra Costa Superior Court.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company