Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, August 9, 2010


Page 3


Commission Confirms New Justice for Fifth District Court of Appeal


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Commission on Judicial Appointments on Friday confirmed the appointment of Madera Superior Court Judge Jennifer R.S. Detjen as a justice of the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno.

The commission’s members—Chief Justice Ronald M. George, the commission’s chair, along with Attorney General Jerry Brown and Fifth District Presiding Justice James A. Ardaiz—approved Detjen unanimously at a public hearing in the Supreme Court Courtroom in the Earl Warren Building in San Francisco.

Detjen, 55, joined the Madera Superior Court in 2001 after serving for 16 years as senior deputy district attorney for the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. She was also a deputy district attorney for the Madera County District Attorney’s Office from 1982 to 1985.

Detjen was presiding judge of the Madera Superior Court from 2005 to 2006, and currently presides over its Appellate Department.

Registered as a Republican, she joined the State Bar in 1982 after attending the University of Washington and the University of San Diego School of Law.

Detjen fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Steven M. Vartabedian, who retired May 31, shortly after his 60th birthday.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been expected to make another nomination to the Fifth District to replace Ardaiz, who said last month that he will step down at the conclusion of his term in January after more than 30 years on the bench.

However, Schwarzenegger is running out of time. Article VI, Sec. 16 of the California Constitution requires him to name Ardiaz’s successor and have the nominee vetted by the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments prior to Sept. 16.

If confirmed by that date, the nominee will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot for voter approval. If the nominee is not confirmed, the spot will remain empty and the power to name the next chief justice will go to whoever succeeds Schwarzenegger as governor in January.

That currently is most likely former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, the Republican nominee, or Brown, the Democratic nominee.

Ardaiz, 62, has been the Fifth District’s presiding justice since 1994. He said in June that he was retiring rather than seek retention to another 12-year term in order to avoid another constitutional provision that would bar him from accepting any other public posts if he stepped down before that term concluded in early 2023.

Ardaiz also indicated that he was stepping down in order to give Schwarzenegger adequate time to name a candidate to replace him.


Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company