Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, September 30, 2003


Page 3


Davis Names Litigator to Contra Costa Superior Court


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Gov. Gray Davis yesterday named San Francisco litigator Leslie G. Landau to the Contra Costa Superior Court.

Landau, 45, of Orinda, is the managing partner of the San Francisco office of Bingham McCutchen. The firm has 850 lawyers in nine U.S. and two overseas offices.

Landau specializes in complex litigation and appellate work. She was a partner with McCutchen, Doyle, Brown and Enersen when the firm merged with Boston-based Bingham Dana last year to form Bingham McCutchen.

She earned her undergraduate degree from Wesleyen University and her law degree at Cornell. From 1983 to 1984 she clerked for the late Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge William E. Doyle.

Landau replaces Judge Bruce Van Voorhis, whose removal from the bench became final earlier this month when the Supreme Court declined to review an 8-2 decision by the Commission on Judicial Performance in February ordering it. The commission said it would not tolerate the judge continuing to insult lawyers, staff members and jurors in open court.

The CJP described Van Voohis’ conduct as, among other things, “condescending, disrespectful and contemptuous” and as “undignified, discourteous, and sarcastic.”

The judge engaged in willful misconduct and brought his court into disrepute by, among other things, suggesting that an Ecuadorian-born deputy public defender “lose that accent” and telling a rookie prosecutor after a trial that he had intentionally excluded admissible evidence in order to see how she would handle it, the commission said.

Two members argued censure would have been a sufficient punishment.

On Wednesday Davis appointed Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Aaron Persky and former Santa Clara Deputy County Counsel Carrie A. Zepeda to the Santa Clara County Superior Court.

Persky, 41, was an associate at Morrison and Foerster before joining the District Attorney’s Office. He earned his undergraduate degree and a master’s degree at Stanford University and his law degree from Boalt Hall.

He replaced Judge Conrad Rushing, who was elevated to the Sixth District Court of Appeal and then to presiding justice of that court.

Zepeda, 40, left the County Counsel’s Office earlier this month to establish a solo practice. She also earned her undergraduate degree at Stanford.

Her law degree is from Hastings Law School. She replaced Judge Daniel Creed, who retired.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company