Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Governor Names Six to Los Angeles Superior Court Judgeships
Brown Also Elevates Justice Kathleen O’Leary to Presiding Justice
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday named 13 judges to superior courts around the state, and nominated a presiding justice to the Court of Appeal in Santa Ana.
For Brown, who earlier this year named Goodwin Liu to the state Supreme Court, they were the first lower-court appointments of his term.
Six of the appointments were to the Los Angeles Superior Court. The best known of the six is Holly Fujie, a past president of the State Bar.
The others were Superior Court Commissioner Michael Garcia and attorneys Kerry R. Bensinger, Michelle Williams Court, Roberto Longoria and Michael J. Raphael.
Court of Appeal Justice Kathleen O’Leary of the Fourth District’s Div. Three was tapped for elevation to presiding justice of that division.
Fujie, 56, of Los Angeles, has been an equity shareholder for Buchalter Nemer since 1991.
She was an associate, then equity shareholder, for Rosen Wachtell & Gilbert from 1985 to 1991. Fujie was an associate for Rogers & Wells from 1981 to 1985, Morgan Lewis & Bockius from 1980 to 1981 and Adams Duque & Hazeltine from 1978 to 1980.
The attorney earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from UC Berkeley before joining the State Bar in 1978. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Jerry E. Johnson.
Bensinger, 51, of Pasadena, has been a name partner at Bensinger Ritt Tai and Thvedt since 1995.
He was an associate for Quinn Kully & Morrow from 1991 to 1995 and a deputy federal public defender for the Central District of California from 1987 to 1991.
A graduate of Yale University and USC’s law school, Bensinger joined the State Bar in 1987.
He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Dennis A. Aichroth.
Court, 45, of Los Angeles, has worked for Bet Tzedek, a nonprofit legal advocacy group, since 2002. She is currently vice president and general counsel.
Previously, she spent two years as a senior associate for Milberg LLP, a year as a community builder fellow and civil rights specialist for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, four years as a litigation associate for Litt & Marquez, one year as a project attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, and one year as an associate for Gilbert Kelly Crowley & Jennett.
She is a graduate of Pomona College and Loyola Law School. Court was admitted to practice in 1993 and fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Conrad R. Aragon.
Garcia, 54, of Los Angeles, has served as a commissioner since 2007.
Previously, he was a supervising trial deputy for the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California from 1989 to 2007 and an associate attorney for the Law Offices of Capiro & Freixes in 1989.
He is a graduate of Occidental College and Loyola Law School. Garcia was admitted to practice in 1989 and fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Marlene A. Kristovich.
Longoria, 48, of Montebello, has been a sole practitioner since 2006.
Prior to this, he served as a senior trial attorney for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office from 1994 to 2006 and as a trial attorney for the Orange County Public Defender’s Office from 1992 to 1994.
He attended UCLA and Loyola Law School before joining the State Bar in 1992.
Garcia fills the vacancy created by the appointment of Judge John A. Kronstadt to the U.S. District Court.
Raphael, 43, of Los Angeles, has served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Central District of California since 1999.
Since 2007, Raphael has been chief of the Criminal Appeals Section in the Central District. Previously, he served as investigative counsel for U.S. Representative Henry Waxman from 1997 to 1999 and as associate counsel for Sidley Austin LLP from 1994 to 1997.
He graduated from Rice University and Yale Law School before joining the State Bar in 2000.
Raphael fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Charles E. Horan.
O’Leary, 60, of Santa Ana, joined the appellate court in 2000, after serving 14 years on the Orange Superior Court and five years on the West Orange County Municipal Court. If confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, O’Leary will become the first female presiding justice in the history of the division, succeeding Presiding Justice David G. Sills, who retired in June and died in August.
Before becoming a judge, she worked as a deputy public defender for the Orange County from 1976 to 1981.
She joined the State Bar in 1975 after graduating from Southwestern Law School and Loyola Marymount University.
Brown yesterday also announced appointments to the superior courts in Riverside, Ventura, Santa Clara, Imperial and Tuolumne.
Those receiving judgeships in Riverside are Senior Deputy District Attorney Raquel A. Marquez, Supervising District Attorney Otis Sterling III, and Superior Court Commissioner John W. Vineyard.
Raquel A. Marquez, 45, has been a county prosecutor since 1991. Upon being sworn into office, she will be the first Latina judge in the history of the Riverside County Superior Court.
A graduate of Santa Clara University and UCLA law school, Marquez joined the State Bar in 1991.
She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of now-Justice Carol D. Codrington to the Court of Appeal.
Sterling, 42, has served as a supervising district attorney in the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office since 2002.
Previously, Sterling was a public defender for the Salt Lake City Legal Defender’s Association from 1998 to 2002.
He earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from Brigham Young University and was licensed to practice in California in 2000.
Sterling fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Paul E. Zellerbach, the current district attorney for Riverside.
Vineyard, 50, has served as a commissioner for the Riverside Superior Court since 2008.
Previously, he was a sole practitioner from 2005 to 2008 and senior counsel for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP from 1998 to 2005. Vineyard was a partner at Burke Williams & Sorenson LLP in 1998, and an attorney at Thomas Mort Prosser & Knudsen LLP from 1989 to 1998, becoming a partner in 1994.
Sterling attended Northeast Louisiana University before graduating from law school at UC Davis. He joined the State Bar in 1989 and fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge W. Charles Morgan.
Santa Clara Deputy Public Defender Shelyna V. Brown, 41, was also tapped by Brown for a judgeship.
Brown joined the Public Defender’s Office in 1997, immediately after being admitted to the State Bar.
She holds degrees from UC Davis and the Santa Clara University School of Law.
Brown fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Eugene M. Hyman.
San Diego attorney Christopher J. Plourd was Brown’s choice for the Imperial Superior Court.
Plourd, 56, has been a sole practitioner since 1988. Previously, he was a partner at Plourd & Stiegerwalt from 1995 to 1998, and Plourd & LeVine from 1988 to 1995.
He was a staff attorney for Defenders, Inc. from 1986 to 1988, an assistant public defender for the Imperial County Public Defender’s Office from 1983 to 1986, and an associate attorney for Plourd Blume Scoville & Strickland from 1981 to 1983.
The attorney graduated from Butler University and Western State University College of Law before joining the State Bar in 1981.
Plourd fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Joseph W. Zimmerman.
Tuolumne District Attorney Donald I. Segerstrom Jr. and Ventura mediator Matthew P. Guasco were also tapped by Brown to join the courts in their respective counties.
Segerstrom, 60, of Sonora, has served as district attorney for Tuolumne County since 2001. Previously, he was a sole civil and criminal defense practitioner from 1989 to 2001.
He served as a deputy district attorney for the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office from 1985 to 1988 and as a research attorney for the Third District Court of Appeal from 1981 to 1985.
A graduate of Prescott College and UC Davis law school, Segerstrom joined the State Bar in 1980. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Douglas Boyack.
Guasco, 53, worked this year as a professional mediator and arbitrator in Ventura after having spent two years as of counsel for Arnold Bleuel LaRochelle Mathews & Zirbel LLP.
He worked for Norman Dowler LLP from 2001 to 2008 and for Innovative Mediation from 1998 to 2001. He also was an associate attorney for Engle Carobine Covner & Coats LLP from 1993 to 1998, and Lascher & Lascher from 1989 to 1993.
In addition, Guasco served as a deputy public defender for the Marin County Public Defender’s Office from 1985 to 1989.
He is a graduate of UC Davis and Golden Gate University School of Law. Guasco joined the State Bar in 1985 and fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David W. Long.
All of the appointees are Democrats except Plourd, who is registered decline-to-state. The compensation for a Court of Appeal presiding justice is $204,599 and for a superior court judge is $178,789.
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