Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, November 23, 2012


Page 1


Governor Brown Nominates Two to California Court of Appeal

Humes Would Be First Openly Gay Justice, Pena Would Be Fifth District’s First Latino


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday nominated two Court of Appeal justices and named 10 new judges to superior courts around the state.

The Court of Appeal nominees are Jim Humes, 53, of San Francisco, who has worked for Brown during his terms as governor and attorney general, and Fresno Superior Court Judge Rosendo Peña, 57. The best-known of the superior court appointees is former State Bar President James Towery, 64, who was named to the Santa Clara Superior Court.

Humes was nominated to the First District Court of Appeal, Div. Four, to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Patricia Sepulveda. His nomination, and that of Peña, must be confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments.

Openly Gay Justice

Humes, a Democrat, has served as Brown’s executive secretary for legal affairs, administration and policy since last year. If confirmed, the governor’s office said in a release, he would become the first openly gay justice to serve on the California Court of Appeal.

While chief deputy attorney general under Brown, Humes supervised a staff of 5,300, including 1,100 lawyers. He played a key role in then-Attorney General Brown’s unsuccessful challenge of Proposition 8 before the California Supreme Court.

In the past Humes has served in multiple positions at the California Department of Justice, including chief assistant of the civil division and senior assistant attorney general of the health, education and welfare section.

Humes earned his law degree from the University of Denver, a master of social science degree from the University of Colorado and an undergraduate degree from Illinois State University.

First Latino Justice

Peña, the governor’s office said, would become the first Latino justice in the history of the Fifth District. The judge, a Democrat, has served on the Fresno Superior Court since 2002. 

Before that he served as a senior research attorney for the Fifth District Court of Appeal.  His law degree is from UCLA and his undergraduate degree from California State University, Fresno.

Towery was State Bar president in 1995, following a year-long stint chairing the Board of Governors discipline committee.  He is currently of counsel at Rossi Hammerslough Reischl and Chuck in San Jose.

He is former chair of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Public Protection and head of a task force that recommended requiring uninsured lawyers to disclose that fact to their clients. He resigned last year as chief trial counsel of the State Bar, just prior to the end of the one-year period in which the state Senate was required to confirm the appointment.

‘Not a Good Fit’

He said at the time that the position, which required him to oversee offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, was “not a good fit” with his decision to continue to live in San Jose.

Towery earned his law degree from Emory University and an undergraduate degree from Princeton University.

Also appointed were:

•Helen Elizabeth Williams, 52, of Santa Cruz to the Santa Clara Superior Court. Williams is a staff attorney at the Sixth District Court of Appeal.

•Nathan R. Scott, 39, of Long Beach, and James L. Crandall, 66, of San Juan Capistrano to the Orange Superior Court.

Scott, a Democrat, is senior attorney at the Fourth District Court of Appeal. Crandall, a Republican, is a senior partner at Crandall Wade and Lowe.

•Deputy Public Defender Robert B. Westbrook, 43, of Hughson, a Democrat, to the Stanislaus Superior Court.

•Attorney Paula S. Rosenstein, 62, of San Diego, a Democrat, to the San Diego Superior Court.

•Attorney Chris Doehle, 50, of Del Norte, a Democrat, to the Del Norte Superior Court.

•Attorney Stephen D. Kaus, 64, of Berkeley; Deputy District Attorney Scott D. Patton, 51, of Piedmont; and Assistant Public Defender Gregory A. Syren, 53, of Kensington to the Alameda Superior Court.  All three are Democrats.

Stephen Kaus, in addition to being a partner at the San Francisco firm Cooper White & Cooper, writes for The Huffington Post and is a son of Otto Kaus. His father, who died in 1996, was appointed to the state Supreme Court by Brown in 1981 after having been previously appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court and the Court of Appeal by then-Gov. Pat Brown, the present governor’s father.


Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company