Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Page 1


Committee Sets Vote Thursday on Bernal Nomination

Obama Nominates Sacramento Jurist to Fill Eastern District Vacancy


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote Thursday on President Obama’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

A schedule released Friday shows that Deputy Federal Public Defender Jesus G. Bernal is one of three judicial nominees whose votes have been scheduled by the committee chair, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

Bernal, directing attorney of the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Riverside, has been a deputy federal public defender in the district since 1996. The 48-year-old nominee worked in the Los Angeles office until 2006, when he took up his present position in Riverside.

He is also a former secretary of the Riverside County Bar Association.

He began his legal career as a law clerk to then-Judge David V. Kenyon of the Central District from 1989 to 1991. He was admitted to the State Bar in 1990, and after completing his clerkship worked for almost five years as a litigation associate at the law firm of Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe LLP in Los Angeles, focusing primarily on complex civil litigation.

He graduated from Yale University in 1986 and Stanford Law School in 1989. The American Bar Association reported that a majority of its evaluating committee voted to give him a “qualified” rating, with the minority saying he is “not qualified.”

Also scheduled for votes Thursday are Terrence G. Berg, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan nominated to serve as a judge in that district; Lorna G. Schofield, who has been affiliated with the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York City since 1988, to the U.S. District Court for the  Southern District of New York.

In related news:

The Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing tomorrow for U.S. Magistrate Judge Fernando M. Olguin, nominated to fill another Central District vacancy. The ABA reported that a “substantial majority” of its committee—defined as at least 10 of 13 members—rated the nominee qualified and the remaining members said he was not qualified.

The committee is also to hold hearings for Frank P. Geraci Jr., a state court judge in Rochester nominated to be a district judge for the Western District of New York; and two nominees for district judge in the Middle District of Pennsylvania—Malachy E. Mannion, a magistrate judge in that district, and Matthew W. Brann, an attorney in Bradford County, Pa. and former chair of the county’s Republican Party.

A hearing will also be held on the nomination of U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California to be a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

The president yesterday nominated Sacramento Superior Court Judge Troy S. Nunley as judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Nunley has been a judge since 2002. 

He previously served as a state deputy attorney from 1999 until 2002. He was a deputy district attorney in Alameda County from 1991 to 1994 and in Sacramento County from 1996 to 1999, having been a sole practitioner in between. He is a graduate of St. Mary’s College and Hastings College of the Law.

Nunley was recommended to the president by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who issued a statement calling for quick action on the nomination. She noted that weighted filings in the district, as catalogued by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, are more than double the national average and that the average time from filing to trial for civil cases in the district is 43.6 months, compared to the national average of 24.8 months.

Also nominated by the president yesterday were  Magistrate Judge Sheri Polster Chappell of the Middle District of Florida to be a district judge there and Katherine Polk Failla, chief of the Criminal Appeals Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, to be a district judge for the Southern District of New York. 


Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company