Governor Newsom Announces Judicial Appointments 9.3.21

  SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced his nomination of Judge Victor A. Rodriguez as…

 

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced his nomination of Judge Victor A. Rodriguez as Associate Justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Division Three. The Governor also announced his appointment of 22 Superior Court Judges, which include two in Contra Costa County; six in Los Angeles County; one in Madera County; one in Monterey County; two in Orange County; three in Riverside County; two in San Diego County; one in San Mateo County; three in Santa Clara County; and one in Solano County.

First District Court of Appeal

Judge Victor A. Rodriguez, 46, of Oakland, has been nominated to serve as an Associate Justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Division Three. He has served as a Judge of the Alameda County Superior Court since 2018. Judge Rodriguez served as Supervising Staff Attorney for the Honorable Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar at the California Supreme Court from 2015 to 2018, where he served as Judicial Staff Attorney for the Honorable Carlos R. Moreno, Goodwin H. Liu and Carol A. Corrigan from 2006 to 2015. He served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Consuelo B. Marshall at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California from 2005 to 2006. Judge Rodriguez was a Skadden Fellow at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund from 2003 to 2005. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Long Beach. Judge Rodriguez fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Justice Teri L. Jackson as Presiding Justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Division Five. This position requires the completion of a review by the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation and confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. The Commission consists of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Rob Bonta and Senior Presiding Justice J. Anthony Kline. Judge Rodriguez is a Democrat.

The compensation for this position is $256,138.

Contra Costa County Superior Court

Kirk J. Athanasiou

Kirk J. Athanasiou, 45, of Berkeley, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Contra Costa County Superior Court. Athanasiou has served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office since 2006. He served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Tulare County Public Defender’s Office from 2005 to 2006. Athanasiou earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge John H. Sugiyama. Athanasiou is a Democrat.

Jennifer D. Lee

Jennifer D. Lee, 51, of Alameda, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Contra Costa County Superior Court. Lee has served as a Court Commissioner at the Contra Costa County Superior Court since 2019. She was Security Counsel at Apple Inc. from 2018 to 2019. Lee served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office from 2006 to 2018, as a Deputy City Attorney at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office from 2002 to 2006 and as a Deputy Public Defender at the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office from 2001 to 2002. She served as a Staff Attorney at Legal Aid of Marin in 2000 and as a Deputy Public Defender at the Centre County, PA Public Defender’s Office from 1997 to 1999. Lee earned a Juris Doctor degree from Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the removal of Judge John T. Laettner. Lee is a Democrat.

Los Angeles County Superior Court

Ramiro P. Cisneros

Ramiro P. Cisneros, 53, of Eastvale, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Cisneros has served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office since 2001. He was an Associate at Parker Stanbury LLP from 1999 to 2001. Cisneros earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Southwestern University School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William A. MacLaughlin. Cisneros is a Democrat.

E. Carlos Dominguez

E. Carlos Dominguez, 42, of Studio City, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Dominguez has served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General since 2009. He was an Associate at Rutan & Tucker LLP from 2005 to 2008. In 2021, Dominguez served as a Lecturer in Law at the University of Southern California School of Law. Dominguez earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Irma J. Brown. Dominguez is a Democrat.

Benjamin P. Hernandez-Stern

Benjamin P. Hernandez-Stern, 40, of Washington, D.C., has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Hernandez-Stern has served as Counsel for the Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security since 2019. He served as an Attorney in the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Civil Rights from 2014 to 2019 and as Special Counsel in the Office for Access to Justice at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2016 to 2017. Hernandez-Stern also served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia from 2013 to 2014 and was Acting Associate Deputy Director for Enforcement and Special Assistant to the Deputy Director for Enforcement and Regional Operations in the Enforcement Division at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights, from 2012 to 2013. He served as a Regulatory and Civil Rights Analyst in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights from 2010 to 2012 and was an Associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson from 2008 to 2009. He has served as a Judge Advocate General in the U.S Air Force Reserve since 2014. Hernandez-Stern also served as Judge Advocate in the California Air National Guard from 2009 to 2014. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School and a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. He fills the vacancy created by the death of Judge Victor E. Chavez. Hernandez-Stern is a Democrat.

Abraham C. Meltzer

Abraham C. Meltzer, 55, of Glendale, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Meltzer has served as a Deputy Chief at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California since 2018, where he has also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney since 2004. He served as Counsel at the California State University, Office of General Counsel from 2000 to 2004 and an Associate at Irell & Manella LLP from 1997 to 2000. Meltzer served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office from 1995 to 1997. He was an Associate at Nossaman LLP from 1994 to 1997 and at Fulbright & Jaworski from 1992 to 1994. Meltzer earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Ray A. Santana. Meltzer is registered without party preference.

Reginald L. Neal

Reginald L. Neal, 54, of View Park-Windsor Hills, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Neal has served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office since 2008. He served as a Deputy Attorney at the California Department of Transportation from 2006 to 2008 and was an Associate Insurance Compliance Officer at the California Department of Insurance from 2001 to 2005. Neal earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Pacific Coast University School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gilbert Lopez. Neal is a Democrat.

Tara L. Newman

Tara L. Newman, 46, of Pasadena, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Newman has served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General since 2008. She was a Sole Practitioner from 2006 to 2008 and an Associate at Ivie McNeill & Wyatt from 2003 to 2006. Newman was an Associate at Buchalter, Nemer, Fields & Younger from 1999 to 2003. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Fernando L. Aenlle-Rocha to the Federal Court. Newman is a Democrat.

Madera County Superior Court

Sosi Chitakian Vogt

Sosi Chitakian Vogt, 53, of Fresno, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Madera County Superior Court. Vogt has served as a Court Commissioner at the Madera County Superior Court since 2020. She was Appointed Counsel at Madera Alternate Defense in 2019 and an Associate at Wapner Jones PC from 2016 to 2018. Vogt was an Associate at Sawl Law Group from 2009 to 2015 and a Contract Attorney at the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office from 2003 to 2009. She was Corporate Counsel and Corporate Secretary of the American Division at Anderson Clayton Queensland Cotton from 2001 to 2003, a Deputy District Attorney at the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office from 1998 to 2001 and an Associate at Richard A. Ciummo and Associates from 1996 to 1998. Vogt earned a Juris Doctor degree from the San Joaquin College of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Joseph A. Soldani. Vogt is a Republican.

Monterey County Superior Court

Jared A. Jefferson

Jared A. Jefferson, 37, of Salinas, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Monterey County Superior Court. Jefferson has served as a Chief Deputy Public Defender at the Monterey County Public Defender’s Office since 2021, where he has served in several positions since 2015. He was a Defense Attorney at Alternate Defense Office from 2014 to 2015 and a Deputy Public Defender at the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office from 2011 to 2014. Jefferson served as a Volunteer Attorney at the Monterey County Public Defender’s Office from 2010 to 2011. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Susan J. Matcham. Jefferson is a Democrat.

Orange County Superior Court

Vibhav Mittal

Vibhav Mittal, 39, of Yorba Linda, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Orange County Superior Court. Mittal has served as a Deputy Chief at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California since 2019, where he has also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney since 2011. He was a Field Organizer and Campaign Fellow for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2010. Mittal served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Amul R. Thapar at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky from 2009 to 2010. Mittal was an Associate at Quinn Emanuel LLP from 2008 to 2009. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the New York University School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Ronald L. Bauer. Mittal is a Democrat.

Scott M. Van Camp

Scott M. Van Camp, 49, of Huntington Beach, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Orange County Superior Court. Van Camp has served as a Court Commissioner at the Orange County Superior Court since 2019. He served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from 2018 to 2019 and as a Senior Deputy Public Defender at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office from 1999 to 2018. Van Camp earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge John D. Conley. Van Camp is a Democrat.

Riverside County Superior Court

Sean P. Crandell

Sean P. Crandell, 48, of Temecula, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Riverside County Superior Court. Crandell has served as a Senior Deputy District Attorney at the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office since 2014, where he has served in several positions since 1996, including Deputy District Attorney and Law Clerk. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. He fills the vacancy of a new position created on September 24, 2019. Crandell is a Democrat.

Joshua A. Knight

Joshua A. Knight, 44, of Murrieta, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Riverside County Superior Court. Knight has served as an Attorney at the Riverside County Public Defender’s Office since 2007. He served as an Attorney at the Kern County Public Defender’s Office from 2005 to 2007. Knight earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oregon School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Rebecca L. Dugan. Knight is registered without party preference.

Marie Elena Wood

Marie Elena Wood, 45, of Murrieta, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Riverside County Superior Court. Wood has been a Shareholder at Reid & Hellyer APC since 2021, where she was an Associate from 2016 to 2020. She was a Sole Practitioner from 2015 to 2016 and a Partner at James & Wood LLP from 2014 to 2015. Wood was an Associate at Fabozzi & Miller APC from 2010 to 2014. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Wood fills the vacancy of a new position created on September 24, 2019. She is a Democrat.

San Diego County Superior Court

Marissa A. Bejarano

Marissa A. Bejarano, 42, of Chula Vista, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the San Diego County Superior Court. Bejarano has served as a Community Partnership Prosecutor at the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office since 2019, where she has also served as a Deputy District Attorney since 2014. She served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 2006 to 2013. Bejarano earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Justice Truc T. Do to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. Bejarano is a Democrat.

Daniel Segura

Daniel Segura, 52, of Temecula, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the San Diego County Superior Court. Segura has served as a Deputy Public Defender at the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office since 1995. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the California Western School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Jeffrey B. Barton. Segura is a Democrat.

San Mateo County Superior Court

Renee C. Reyna

Renee C. Reyna, 40, of Belmont, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the San Mateo County Superior Court. Reyna has served as a Court Commissioner at the San Mateo County Superior Court since 2019. She served as a Senior Attorney at the California Supreme Court from 2016 to 2019 and as a Staff Attorney at the San Mateo County Superior Court from 2010 to 2016. Reyna was an Attorney at Summit Defense in 2010 and at the Offices of Mark A. Berg from 2006 to 2010. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law. Reyna fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Richard H. DuBois. She is a Democrat.

Santa Clara County Superior Court

 Brian J. Buckelew

Brian J. Buckelew, 48, of San Jose, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Buckelew has served as Supervising Deputy District Attorney at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office since 2018, where he has served as a Deputy District Attorney since 2013. He served as an Assistant District Attorney at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office from 2007 to 2013 and was an Associate at Williams & Connolly LLP from 2001 to 2006. Buckelew served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Pasco M. Bowman II at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit from 2000 to 2001 and was an Associate at Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering LLP from 1999 to 2000. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Michele McCoy. Buckelew is a Democrat.

Shella Deen

Shella Deen, 56, of San Jose, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Deen has been a Shareholder at Hoge, Fenton, Jones & Appel Inc. since 1998, where she has held several positions since 1991, including Firmwide Litigation Chair. She was a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales at Terence St. J. Millett, Solicitors from 1986 to 1989. Deen earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Buckingham. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Joshua Weinstein. Deen is a Democrat.

Rafael A. Sivilla-Jones

Rafael A. Sivilla-Jones, 54, of Santa Clara, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Sivilla-Jones has served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General since 2001. He served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Tennessee from 1999 to 2001 and as a Deputy District Attorney at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office from 1992 to 1998. Sivilla-Jones earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Edward F. Lee. Sivilla-Jones is a Democrat.

Solano County Superior Court

Janice M. Williams, 61, of Vacaville, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Solano County Superior Court. Williams has served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Solano County District Attorney’s Office since 1994. She served as Contracted Program Director of the Family Violence Unit at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office from 1993 to 1994 and was a Sole Practitioner from 1991 to 1993. Williams earned a Juris Doctor degree from the New College of California School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert C. Fracchia. Williams is a Democrat.

The compensation for each of these positions is $223,829.

 

 

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