Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Davis Names Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Nguyen To Fill Vacancy on Los Angeles Superior Court
By ROBERT GREENE, Staff Writer
Gov. Gray Davis yesterday appointed federal prosecutor Jacqueline H. Nguyen, who trains new assistant U.S. attorneys in Southern California, to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Nguyen, 37, will move from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California in the federal courthouse on Spring Street to the Mosk Courthouse several blocks away—-or to any one of more than 40 courthouses around the county. She said she expected to take the bench later this month, but has not yet decided exactly when.
Nguyen said she got the call from the governor’s office Monday night.
“I’m just so incredibly excited,” Nguyen said. “I’ll miss everyone here, but I actually am looking forward to taking the state bench.”
Davis also appointed civil litigation practitioner Teri L. Jackson of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to the San Francisco Superior Court.
Nguyen was born in Dalat, South Vietnam, the daughter of a South Vietnamese Army major who worked closely with U.S. intelligence officers. The family fled after the fall of the government in 1975, and 10-year-old Jacqueline Nguyen lived for several months in an Army tent at Camp Pendleton.
Davis’ office noted that Nguyen will become the first Vietnamese American woman to serve as a judge in California.
“I’m very aware that there is an enormous responsibility with being the first anything,” Nguyen said. “It has a lot of symbolic value.
Nguyen has made her presence felt throughout the local Asian legal community, serving in the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Orange County, but also the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association, the Korean American Bar Association and the Japanese American Bar Association. She helped found and was president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
She was a board member of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.
After leaving Vietnam and Camp Pendleton, Nguyen grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Occidental College in Highland Park. She earned her law degree from UCLA.
Nguyen began her legal career in 1991 as a litigation associate with the law firm of Musick, Peeler & Garrett. She moved to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1995 and served in the Public Corruption and Government Fraud Section. Her job included overseeing Department of Defense fraud prosecutions.
Nguyen may be best known for groundbreaking anti-terrorism prosecution. Her victory in the “Operation Eastern Approach” case of U.S. v. Tabatabai was the first successful prosecution in the United States for providing material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2339B.
For the last several years Nguyen has served as a deputy chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Section, where she is responsible for training and supervising new federal prosecutors in the Central District.
Her immediate supervisor, Thomas Warren, said Davis picked well.
“It’s an excellent choice for judge,” Warren said. “She has the experience and the level-headedness to be a judge. And the patience.”
Davis has appointed Los Angeles Superior Court judges in spurts. Nguyen was named a week after three Superior Court commissioners were elevated. There are now 14 judicial vacancies in the Superior Court, the world’s largest trial court.
With the appointment of Nguyen and Jackson, Davis has now appointed 222 judges and justices around the state.
Jackson, 45, is a former San Francisco deputy district attorney who specialized in domestic violence cases. She also is a former chair of the Committee of Bar Examiners.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company