Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, October 31, 2013


Page 1


Fifth District Justice Wiseman Retiring as of Today


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Fifth District Justice Rebecca A. Wiseman is retiring, effective today, a court spokesperson said.

Wiseman, 60, was appointed to the court by then-Governor Pete Wilson in October 1995. She was unanimously confirmed the following month, becoming only the second woman named to the Fifth District. 

Wiseman, whose last working day was Monday, could not be reached for comment.

 Born in Sanger which is in Fresno County, the jurist graduated summa cum laude with a degree in journalism from what was then Fresno State College in 1975. She turned her sights to law, according to an online profile, when she was informed during a newspaper job interview that the paper would never hire a woman.

She graduated from UC Davis School of Law in 1980, and then spent roughly a year with the law firm of Kuhs & Parker before becoming a deputy district attorney for Kern County in 1981. She specialized in prosecution of environmental law violations and toxic waste cases.

She left the office in 1986 after being appointed to the now-defunct Bakersfield Municipal Court by then-Gov. George Deukmejian. Wiseman became head of that court’s Civil Department from 1989 until 1991, when Wilson appointed her as the first female jurist on the Kern Superior Court.

In 2001, Wiseman completed a master of laws degree in judicial process from the University of Virginia School of Law, obtaining the advanced degree while still serving as an appellate court justice.

 Wiseman has been a frequent lecturer on employment litigation, having served as co-author of the Rutter Group’s California Practice Guide on the subject. She has also lectured on civil procedure, expert witnesses and evidence.

During her time on the bench, Wiseman garnered numerous awards and was heavily involved in community service activities. In 1998, she was selected as the Outstanding Jurist in Kern County and was given the Mentor of the Year award by the Fresno County Young Lawyers Association. She previously served on the Board of Directors of the Kern County Red Cross, was president of the California Judges Foundation and was a founding member of the San Joaquin Valley Chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.

Wiseman’s online profile also credits her with being instrumental in developing a program and related legislation for the “Youthful Offender Driving Under the Influence Program,” which requires some students to visit with morgues, hospital emergency rooms, alcohol counselors and judges in order to learn about the risks associated with DUI offenses. 


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