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Governor Newsom Announces Judicial Appointments 1.31.23

First District Court of Appeal

Justice Tracie L. Brown, 51, of San Francisco County, has been nominated to serve as Presiding Justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Division Four, where she has served as an Associate Justice since 2018. Justice Brown served as a Judge at the San Francisco County Superior Court from 2013 to 2018. She served as an Assistant US Attorney at the US Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California from 2002 to 2013 and was an Associate at Cooley Godward Kronish LLP from 1997 to 2002. Justice Brown served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown at the US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit from 1998 to 1999 and was an Associate at Morrison and Foerster LLP from 1996 to 1997. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Justice Brown fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Presiding Justice Stuart R. Pollak. This position requires confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero, Attorney General Rob Bonta and Senior Presiding Justice Jim Humes. She is a Democrat.

Second District Court of Appeal

Judge Tari Cody, 63, of Ventura County, has been nominated to serve as an Associate Justice of the Second District Court of Appeal, Division Six. She has served as a Judge at the Ventura County Superior Court since 2000. Judge Cody was an Associate at Lemieux & O’Neill from 1994 to 2000. She was an Associate and Partner at Nordman, Cormany, Hair & Compton from 1985 to 1994. Judge Cody earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Steven Z. Perren. This position requires confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero, Attorney General Rob Bonta and Senior Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert. She is a Democrat.

Judge Audra Mori, 55, of Los Angeles County, has been nominated to serve as an Associate Justice of the Second District Court of Appeal, Division Four. She has served as a Judge at the Los Angeles County Superior Court since 2018. Judge Mori was Managing Partner of the Los Angeles Office of Perkins Coie LLP from 2017 to 2018, where she was a Partner from 2005 to 2018. She was a Partner at Judge Mori was an Associate at Andrews Kurth LLP from 1996 to 1998 and served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Richard W. Goldberg at the US Court of International Trade from 1994 to 1996. She was an Associate at Brobeck, Phleger and Harrison from 1992 to 1994. Mori earned a Juris Doctor degree from Cornell Law School. Judge Mori fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Thomas Willhite. This position requires confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero, Attorney General Rob Bonta and Senior Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert. She is registered without party preference.

Fourth District Court of Appeal

Judge Julia Kelety, 62, of San Diego County, has been nominated to serve as an Associate Justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division One. Judge Kelety was a Partner and Associate at Wiggins & Kelety LLP from 1997 to 2003. She served as an Assistant US Attorney at the US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California from 1990 to 1997 and was an Associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher from 1986 to 1990. Judge Kelety served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Mary M. Schroeder at the US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit from 1985 to 1986. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Cornell Law School. Judge Kelety fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Justice Patricia Guerrero to the California Supreme Court. This position requires confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero, Attorney General Rob Bonta and Senior Presiding Justice Manuel A. Ramirez . She is a Democrat.

The compensation for each of these positions is $264,542.

Contra Costa County Superior Court

Frank Riebli, 51, of Contra Costa County, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Contra Costa County Superior Court. Riebli has served as an Assistant US Attorney at the US Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California since 2022. He served as an Assistant US Attorney at the US Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California from 2012 to 2022. Riebli served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Marin County District Attorney’s Office from 2011 to 2012. Riebli was an Associate at Farella Braun + Martel LLP from 2004 to 2011 and at Kirkland & Ellis LLP from 2003 to 2004. He served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Joseph T. Sneed at the US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit from 2002 to 2003. Riebli earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from Columbia University. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Lewis A. Davis. Riebli is registered without party preference.

Los Angeles County Superior Court

Richard Bloom, 69, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Bloom served as a California State Assemblymember representing the 50th Assembly District from 2013 to 2022. Bloom was Executive Director for Community Initiatives at People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) from 2008 to 2010 and was Executive Director of the Levitt Quinn Family Law Center from 2005 to 2007. He served in several roles as a Member of the Santa Monica City Council from 1999 to 2012, including as Mayor and Major pro Tempore. Bloom was a Sole Practitioner from 1978 to 2005. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. Bloom fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Sherilyn P. Garnett. He is a Democrat.

Nevada County Superior Court

Kelly Babineau, 51, of Sacramento County, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Nevada County Superior Court. Babineau has been a sole practitioner since 2009. She served as an Assistant Public Defender at the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office from 2002 to 2009 and was an Attorney for the California Central Appellate Project from 2005 to 2015. Babineau was an Associate at Rothschild, Wishek & Sands from 2000 to 2002. She served as an Assistant Public Defender at the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office from 1997 to 2000. She was a Contract Attorney on the Panel at the Office of the Federal Defender, Eastern District of California from 2010 to 2021 and for the Sacramento County Conflict Criminal Defenders from 2009 to 2022. Babineau earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Thomas M. Anderson. Babineau is a Democrat.

Riverside County Superior Court

Jason Armand, 45, of Orange County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Riverside County Superior Court. Armand has served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office since 2007. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego Law School. Armand fills the vacancy of a new position created on July 1, 2022. He is a Democrat.

Laura Garcia, 45, of Riverside County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Riverside County Superior Court. Garcia has served as a Commissioner at the Riverside County Superior Court since 2021. She served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Riverside County Public Defender’s Office from 2008 to 2021, where she was a Paralegal from 2006 to 2008. Garcia earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Southern California Institute of Law. She fills the vacancy of a new position created on July 1, 2022. She is a Democrat.

Sacramento County Superior Court

Rei Onishi, 41, of Sacramento County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Sacramento County Superior Court. Onishi has served as a Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary in the Office of the Governor since 2017. He served as a Senior Policy Advisor and White House Fellow in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2015 to 2017. Onishi served as a Deputy Attorney General in the California Attorney General’s Office from 2012 to 2015 and as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Beverly Martin at the US Court of Appeals , Eleventh Circuit from 2011 to 2012. He was a Legislative Aide and Senate Fellow in the Office of State Senator Joe Simitian from 2004 to 2006. Onishi earned a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School and a Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Michael A. Savage. Onishi is a Democrat.

San Bernardino County Superior Court

John Wilkerson, 52, of San Bernardino County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the San Bernardino County Superior Court. Wilkerson has been an Associate at Price Law Firm, APC since 2022. He was a Partner at Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP from 2007 to 2022 and an Associate there from 2001 to 2006. Wilkerson was an Associate at the Law Offices of Ponsor & Associates from 1999 to 2001. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Gonzaga University School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Arthur A. Harrison. Wilkerson is registered without party preference.

Geraldine Wong-Williams, 43, of San Bernardino County, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the San Bernardino County Superior Court Deputy District Attorney at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from 2017 to 2021 and as a Deputy Public Defender at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office from 2006 to 2017. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Southwestern University School of Law. Wong-Williams fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge John M. Tomberlin. She is a Democrat.

San Luis Obispo County Superior Court

Catherine Swysen, 61, of Santa Barbara County, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court. Swysen has been Managing Partner at Sanger Swysen & Dunkle since 1997, where she has held several positions since 1992 including Associate and Law Clerk. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Barbara College of Law. Swysen fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Ginger E. Garrett. She is a Democrat.

Santa Cruz County Superior Court

Katherine Hansen, 47, of Monterey County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Santa Cruz County Superior Court. Hansen has served as a Commissioner at the Santa Cruz County Superior Court since 2022. She was Deputy County Counsel in the Monterey County Counsel’s Office from 2019 to 2022. She was State Affairs Counsel at the American Association for Justice from 2016 to 2019 and an Attorney at the Veen Firm from 2014 to 2016. Hansen was a Partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP from 2008 to 2013 and Vice President of Legislative Affairs at Barbary Coast Consulting from 2007 to 2008. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. Hansen fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Paul M. Marigonda. She is a Democrat.

The compensation for each of these positions is $231,174.

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