Thursday, January 6, 2005
Sacramento Judge Confirmed for Court of Appeal Seat
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye was elevated from the Sacramento Superior Court bench to the Third District Court of Appeal yesterday by the Commission on Judicial Appointments.
The commission, comprised of Chief Justice Ronald M. George, Attorney General Bill Lockyer, and Third District Presiding Justice Arthur Scotland, confirmed Cantil-Sakauye following a hearing in Sacramento. She succeeds Justice Daniel Kolkey, who resigned in November 2003 to return to private practice.
She becomes the first appointee of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to an appellate bench. The governor previously elevated Justice Norman L. Epstein of this district’s Court of Appeal, Div. Four, to presiding justice in the same division, but there is still a vacancy in the division.
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 Council.
Cantil-Sakauye won the 2003 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 new justice 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.
Cantil-Sakauye is a Republican. Schwarzenegger’s judicial appointments advisor, John Davies, told California Judges Association members at their annual meeting last year that the governor has instructed him not to disclose potential appointees’ party affiliations prior to their selection.
The appointment leaves four appellate court vacancies in the state. This district has openings in Divs. One, Four, and Five, and there is also a vacancy in the Sixth District.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company