Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, November 13, 2014


Page 1


Governor Names Six to Be Los Angeles Superior Court Judges

Brown Also Nominates Three, Including Former State Bar President Streeter, to Court of Appeal





Deputy District Attorney


Senior Judicial Attorney




Assistant U.S. Attorney




Deputy Attorney General


S.F. Superior Court Judge


Fresno Superior Court Judge


Former State Bar President


Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday named 15 people to the state trial and appellate courts, including six to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Hector E. Gutierrez, Colin P. Leis, Lillian Vega Jacobs, Rob B. Villeza, Shirley K. Watkins and Michael E. Whitaker were named to the local trial court, six were named to trial courts in Orange, Riverside, and Alameda counties, and three—including former State Bar President Jon Streeter—were tapped for the Court of Appeal.

Gutierrez, 40, has been a deputy district attorney since 2000, and has been assigned to the Hardcore Gang since 2008. A graduate of UCLA and the University of Michigan Law School, he served as a law clerk at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals from 1999 to 2000.

Leis, 53, has served as senior judicial attorney at this district’s Court of Appeal since 1994. He was a litigation associate at O’Melveny and Myers LLP from 1989 to 1994.

He is a graduate of Harvard University and USC Gould School of Law.

Vega Jacobs, 48, has been senior partner at Jacobs and Vega PLC since 2005 and an attorney at the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program since 2006. She served as a deputy district attorney from 1999 to 2005.

She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UCLA School of Law.

Federal Prosecutor

Villeza, 52, has been an assistant U.S. attorney for Central District of California since 1991 and deputy chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Section since 2001. He was a litigation associate at Graham and James LLP from 1989 to 1991 and at Cades Schutte LLP from 1987 to 1989.

He is a graduate of California State University, Los Angeles and UCLA School of Law.

Watkins has been a partner at Fraser, Watson and Croutch LLP and a mediator and arbitrator at Alternative Resolution Centers since earlier this year. She was senior litigator at the Law Offices of Michels and Watkins from 1997 to 2013 and senior partner at the Law Offices of Watkins and Stevens from 1991 to 1997.

She worked at three other firms between 1982 and 1991. She is a graduate of UC San Diego and the California Western School of Law.

Watkins succeeds Judge Cynthia Rayvis, who retired in August of last year and died last December.

Supervising Deputy

Whitaker, 47, has been a state deputy attorney general since 1998 and a supervising deputy since 2006. His previous employment, covering the years 1991 to 1998, was as an associate at the Law Offices of Richard S. Kim, a staff attorney at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and an associate at Bronson, Bronson and McKinnon.

He was a member of the Culver City Civil Service Commission from 2006 until this year. He is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of Oregon School of Law.

Gutierrez, Leis, Vega Jacobs, Villeza, and Whitaker fill vacancies created by the conversion of court commissioner positions on Aug. 12, 2013.

Tapped for the bench in the other counties were Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Stevens and Noël Wise, a former assistant U.S. attorney now in private practice, to the Alameda Superior Court; criminal defense attorney Gassia Apkarian and Superior Court Commissioner Craig E. Arthur to the Orange Superior Court; and private practitioners Susanne S. Cho and James T. Latting to the Riverside Superior Court.

The Governor’s Office noted in a press release that Cho will be the first Korean-American woman to serve on the Riverside Superior Court.

The governor nominated San Francisco Superior Court Judge Marla J. Miller, 59, to Div. Two of the First District Court of Appeal and Streeter, 58, to Div. Four, and also tapped Fresno Superior Court Judge M. Bruce Smith, 58, for the Fifth District Court of Appeal.

Miller has been a judge since 2005 and previously worked at Morrison and Foerster LLP and at Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk and Rabkin, where she began her career in 1981.

She served briefly as chief assistant district attorney of San Francisco and was an assistant U.S. attorney for five years. Her undergraduate and law degrees are both from Harvard.

Streeter, has been a partner at Keker and Van Nest LLP since 1997. He was a partner at Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP from 1989 to 1996, and an associate there from 1981 to 1988, interrupted by service as a law clerk to Judge Harry T. Edwards at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1982 to 1983.

He was president of the State Bar from 2011 to 2012, after representing Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties on the board for three years. He also served as chair of the board’s Stakeholders Committee and leader of a project to secure legal help for veterans.

Streeter was also vice-chairman of the California State Senate Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice from 2005 to 2008, president of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers of Northern California from 2006 to 2007, and president of the Bar Association of San Francisco in 2004.

He is a graduate of Stanford University and UC Berkeley Law School. If confirmed by the commission, he would succeed Justice James M. Humes, now the presiding justice in Div. One.

Smith has served on the Fresno court since 2000, and has been at various times the presiding judge, assistant presiding judge, a criminal trial judge, a civil trial judge, a supervising judge, and presiding juvenile court judge.

He was in private practice from 1988 until his appointment to the bench, and was a deputy district attorney for Fresno County from 1983 to 1988. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and Hastings College of the Law.

If confirmed, he will succeed Justice Rebecca Wiseman, who retired.

Whitaker and Stevens are registered without party preference, while the others named yesterday are Democrats.


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