Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, December 6, 2004


Page 1


Schwarzenegger Nominates Sacramento Jurist to Court of Appeal


By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday nominated Sacramento Superior Court Judge Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye to the Third District Court of Appeal to succeed Justice Daniel Kolkey, who resigned last year to return to private practice.

Cantil-Sakauye, 45, is a 14-year veteran of the Sacramento County trial bench. She was appointed to the Sacramento County Municipal Court by then-Gov. George Deukmejian in 1990, making her the first woman of Asian descent to serve as a judge in the county and, at 31, one of the youngest judges in the state.

She was elevated to the Superior Court by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1997. Wilson also appointed her to the state Domestic Violence Advisory Counci.

Hearing Set

Cantil-Sakauye faces a Jan. 5 confirmation hearing in Sacramento before the Commission on Judicial Appointments, consisting of Chief Justice Ronald M. George, Attorney General Bill Lockyer, and Third District Presiding Justice Arthur Scotland. If confirmed, she will be the first Schwarzenegger appointee to an appellate court, although Justice Norman Epstein was elevated recently to the post of presiding justice of this district’s Div. Four after having been an associate justice of that division for 14 years.

Cantil-Sakauye won last year’s National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Trailblazer Award, the highest award presented by the group, which praised her “professional excellence and commitment to...the Filipino community.”

The judge is a graduate of UC Davis and the Martin Luther King Jr. Law School, also in Davis. Prior to joining the bench, she served as a Sacramento County deputy district attorney and as a deputy legal affairs secretary and a deputy legislative secretary in the Deukmejian administration.

As a judge, she has sat primarily in criminal cases. She was one of the first judges in the country to uphold the validity of an indictment against a suspect who could only be identified by his DNA profile.

  The ruling enabled prosecutors to use the genetic code of semen recovered from a rape scene to charge the otherwise-unknown defendant two days before the six-year statute of limitations was to expire. A review of the state’s DNA database resulted in an arrest a month later.

Her community service includes membership on the board of “My Sister’s House,” which aids Asian and Pacific Islander women and their children impacted by domestic violence.

Trial Judges Named

Schwarzenegger Friday also named three Superior Court judges. With the exception of two judges who were elected in the March primary and then appointed so that they would not have to wait until January to take office, they are the governor’s first trial court appointees.

Schwarzenegger named Clifford V. Cretan and John “Jack” L. Grandsaert to the San Mateo Superior Court and Brian L. McCabe to the Merced Superior Court.

Cretan, 57, has more than 30 years of experience, first as a prosecutor in Lake and San Mateo counties and for the past 20 years as head of his own firm, primarily practicing criminal and civil litigation.

Grandsaert, 52, has been a prosecutor for 20 years, the last 17 in San Mateo County. He was in private practice for seven years before that.

McCabe, 43, has practiced primarily in civil litigation and family law.

Cantil-Sakauye, Grandsaert, and McCabe are Republicans; Cretan is a Democrat. Schwarzenegger’s judicial appointments advisor, John Davies, told California Judges Association members at their annual meeting earlier this year that the governor has instructed him not to disclose potential appointees’ party affiliations prior to their selection.


Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company