Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, December 12, 2005


Page 1


Schwarzenegger Names Three, Including Former Aide,  To Judicial Posts in Northern Part of State


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday nominated his former legal affairs secretary and interim chief of staff, Peter Siggins, to the First District Court of Appeal.

He also tapped Justice Ignacio Ruvolo of the First District’s Div. Two to be presiding justice of Div. Four, and Yolo Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet to fill a vacancy on the Sacramento Superior Court.

Siggins’ nomination to Div. Three is contingent upon the elevation of Justice Carol Corrigan to the Supreme Court. The Commission on Judicial Appointments is scheduled to take up the Corrigan nomination on Jan. 4 in San Francisco.

Siggins, 50, served as legal affairs secretary to the governor from November 2003 to November 2005 and as interim chief of staff for the last two months of that period, while Patricia Clarey, who has since left the post, was on leave working for the governor’s ultimately unsuccessful campaign to pass four initiative measures at a statewide special election.

His successor as legal affairs secretary was named two months ago, and sources said then that he would likely be appointed to a judgeship after the special election.

Before going to work for the Republican governor, Siggins—who is registered decline-to-state—was chief deputy attorney general under Democrat Bill Lockyer, a post he held for four years. He previously served as senior assistant attorney general in charge of the Correctional Law Section, and much of his work as legal affairs secretary was taken up with prison reform issues, as the state has been forced to respond to litigation concerning conditions in its correctional facilities.

He was also responsible, along with Clarey and Judicial Appointments Advisor John Davies, with vetting candidates for the bench.

Before joining the state service, Siggins practiced civil litigation and maritime law in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a graduate of Hastings College of the Law and Loyola Marymount University.

Ruvolo, 58, has served as an associate justice in Div. Two since 1996. He was previously a Contra Costa Superior Court judge from 1994 to 1996.

Before his appointment to the Superior Court, Ruvolo was an attorney for the firm of Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon for 17 years. He also served as a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice’s Civil Division, Tort Section from 1972 to 1977.

Ruvolo earned a master of laws degree from the University of Virginia, a law degree from the University of San Diego and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers. If confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, Ruvolo, a Republican, would fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Presiding Justice Laurence Kay.

Among the opinions he has authored for Div. Two was one that upheld the validity of Indian gaming compacts that allow tribes to conduct high-stakes casino gaming that is off-limits to licensed card clubs like the Hustler Casino owned by pornographer Larry Flynt, who challenged the compacts on constitutional grounds.

In another case, he wrote that the California Milk Products Advisory Board is a public entity and cannot be sued for violation of the Unfair Competition Law. The ruling blocked a suit by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which claimed the boardís well-known ěHappy Cowsî advertising campaign deceived the public by masking what PETA said were unhealthy conditions to which dairy cows were subjected.

Sweet, 53, of Gold River, has served as a judge in the Yolo Superior Court since 1998. He previously served as deputy legislative secretary in the Office of the Governor from 1996 to 1998.

Sweet was deputy secretary for legislation and legal counsel to the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency from 1995 to 1996 and executive officer for the Youthful Offender Parole Board from 1994 to 1995. Prior to that, he was executive director of the California District Attorneys Association and chief of the Fair Political Practices Commission Enforcement Division.

Sweet also served as a deputy district attorney for the counties of Sacramento, Placer, Stanislaus and Lake.

Sweet earned his law degree from Lincoln Law School of Sacramento and undergraduate degree from San Jose State. The Republican fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Kenneth L. Hake.


Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company