Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Page 1


Governor Names Six to Fill Slots On Third, Fifth District Panels


By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday made six judicial nominations to posts on the Third and Fifth District Courts of Appeal.

The governor tapped Third District Justice Vance W. Raye to become presiding justice, and named as associate justices his legal affairs secretary, Andrea L. Hoch, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Elena J. Duarte and San Joaquin Superior Court Judge William J. Murray Jr.

Schwarzenegger also nominated Fifth District Justice Brad R. Hill—who voters approved Nov. 2 to succeed retiring Presiding Justice James Ardaiz—to serve the final week of Ardaiz’s term in December before Hill’s term is scheduled to start Jan. 3, and he named Fresno Superior Court Donald R. Franson Jr. to fill the vacancy to be created by Hill’s elevation.

Dec. 10 Hearings

The Commission on Judicial Appointments, which in August confirmed Hill as Ardaiz’s successor, said yesterday that it has scheduled public hearings Friday Dec. 10 in the Supreme Court Courtroom at the Earl Warren Building at 350 McAllister Street in San Francisco to consider all six nominations. Hearings are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. for the nominations to the Third District, and at 2 p.m. for those to the Fifth District.

Members of the commission who will consider the appointments include Chief Justice Ronald M. George, the commission’s chair; the presiding justice of each nominee’s district; and Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Particular interest will likely be paid to Brown’s votes. As governor-elect, he would otherwise have been able to fill any vacancies upon taking office Jan. 3, and may yet be able to do so if any nominees—other than Hill—fail to garner the two votes needed for confirmation.

Representatives of Brown’s gubernatorial transition team could not be reached for comment.

Third Votes

Retired Presiding Justice Arthur Scotland, who stepped down at the end of September but continues to serve as acting presiding justice, will cast the third vote with respect to his proposed successor, Raye, and the other Third District nominees. Ardaiz, who is scheduled to retire Dec. 27, six days before his term officially concludes, will cast the third vote on the Fifth District nominations.

The commission is soliciting comments and testimony on the nominations. The deadline for written comments and requests to testify in person is 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3. Requests to speak must include a statement whether the witness will be testifying in support or opposition to the nomination, and provide a summary of the proposed testimony, the facts upon which it is based and its relevance to the nominee’s qualifications, the commission explained in a release.

The commission requested that correspondence be addressed to the chief justice at the Supreme Court, 350 McAllister St., San Francisco, CA 94102.

The California Constitution specifies that a gubernatorial appointment to the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal is effective when confirmed by the commission. 

Raye, 64, has served on the Third District since 1991. He was a judge for the Sacramento Superior Court from 1989 to 1991 and a deputy legislative secretary, then legal affairs secretary for the then-Gov. George Deukmejian from 1983 to 1989. A Republican, he worked for the Office of the Attorney General as senior assistant attorney general from 1980 to 1983 and as a deputy attorney general from 1974 to 1980. 

Before that, he was an assistant staff judge advocate for the U.S. Air Force from 1970 to 1974 and an associate for Bulla and Horning in 1970. He attended college and law school at the University of Oklahoma and joined the California State Bar in 1974.

Hoch, 51, has been Schwarzenegger’s legal affairs secretary since 2005, and was the administrative director for the Division of Workers’ Compensation from 2004 to 2005. A Republican, she worked for the Office of the Attorney General from 1992 to 2004, and as a legal advisor for the Public Employment Relations Board from 1988 to 1992 and as a regional attorney in 1988.

She was as board counsel for the Agricultural Labor Relations Board from 1987 to 1988, an associate for Swanson and Dowdall from 1986 to 1987 and an attorney for Swerdlow and Florence from 1985 to 1986.

Hoch joined the State Bar in 1985 after graduating from Stanford University and McGeorge School of Law. She is set to fill the vacancy that will be created by the retirement of Justice Rick Sims, scheduled for Tuesday.

 Duarte, 44, joined the Sacramento Superior Court in 2008, and before that served on the Los Angeles Superior Court beginning in 2007. She served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Central District of California from 1994 until joining the bench, and spent two years before that as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

A Democrat, she graduated from USC and Stanford Law School before joining the State Bar in 1993. If confirmed, she will fill the vacancy created by Raye’s elevation.

Duarte explained at the time that she applied for the Sacramento Superior Court because her husband, who was working in federal law enforcement, was transferred to that area.

Murray, 53, became presiding judge on the San Joaquin Superior Court in 2008 following two years as assistant presiding judge, and he joined the court in 1995. Before that, he worked for the Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office as the assistant district attorney from 1992 to 1995 and as a deputy district attorney from 1986 to 1992.

A Democrat, he also worked as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y. from 1982 to 1986.

Murray attended Frostburg State College in Maryland and George Washington University Law School, and joined the California State Bar in 1985. He would fill a vacancy that has remained open since Justice Rodney Davis retired in February 2009.

Hill, 56, has served on the Fifth District since 2006, and was previously a judge for the Fresno County Superior Court from 1998 to 2006 and for the Fresno County Municipal Court from 1991 to 1998. He was a partner and associate for McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte and Carruth from 1983 to 1991.

A Republican, he attended California State University, Fresno, and UC Hastings College of the Law before joining the State Bar in 1983.

Franson, 58, of Fresno, has served as a judge for the Fresno Superior Court since 2005. He was a shareholder for Sagaser, Franson and Jones from 1994 to 2005 and an attorney and shareholder for Jory, Peterson and Sagaser from 1991 to 1994.

Before that, he was legal counsel and executive vice president for Producers Cotton Oil Company from 1988 to 1991 and an associate for Miles, Sears and Eanni from 1983 to 1987.

Franson worked as a sole practitioner from 1981 to 1982 and was a deputy district attorney for the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office from 1978 to 1980. A Republican, he joined the State Bar in 1978 after attending UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law.

His father, Donald R. Franson Sr., served 18 years on the Fifth District Court of Appeal before retiring as presiding justice in 1990.

Compensation for both positions as presiding justice is $212,783, while compensation for the other positions is $204,599.


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