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Governor Newsom Announces Judicial Appointments 8.8.22

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced his nomination of Judge Thomas Delaney to serve as an Associate Justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three. The Governor also announced his appointment of 17 Superior Court Judges, which include one in Alameda County; two in Fresno County; one in Imperial County; two in Los Angeles County; one in Mariposa County; one in Orange County; one in Placer County; one in San Bernardino County; one in San Diego County; one in San Joaquin County; three in Santa Clara County; one in Sonoma County; and one in Ventura County.

Fourth District Court of Appeal

Judge Thomas Delaney, 55, of Santa Ana, has been nominated to serve as an Associate Justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three. He has served as a Judge at the Orange County Superior Court since 2014. Judge Delaney was a Partner at Sedgwick LLP from 2002 to 2014. He was an Associate at Sedgwick Detert Moran and Arnold LLP from 1995 to 2001 and at Bodkin McCarthy Sargent and Smith from 1992 to 1995. Judge Delaney earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice David Thompson. This position requires confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Rob Bonta and Senior Presiding Justice Manuel Ramirez. Judge Delaney is a Democrat.The compensation for this position is $262,198.

Alameda County Superior Court

Pelayo Llamas Jr., 59, of Oakland, has been appointed to serve in an interim appointment as a Judge in the Alameda County Superior Court. Llamas has served as a Commissioner at the Alameda County Superior Court since 2019. He was a Senior Deputy City Attorney at the Oakland City Attorney’s Office from 2012 to 2019. He was a Solo Practitioner from 2010 to 2012 and served as a Deputy City Attorney at the Oakland City Attorney’s Office from 1999 to 2010. Llamas was an Associate at Berding & Weil LLP from 1998 to 1999 and at Burnham | Brown from 1992 to 1998. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. He will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Delbert Gee effective November 5, 2022. The Governor’s appointment allows him to immediately assume the position he was otherwise elected to begin in January 2023. Llamas is a Democrat.Fresno County Superior Court

Pahoua Lor, 42, of Fresno, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Fresno County Superior Court. Lor has been a Sole Practitioner since 2013 and has been a part-time Immigration Attorney at The Fresno Center since 2019. She served as a Staff Attorney at Central California Legal Services from 2010 to 2013. Lor was a Sole Practitioner from 2009 to 2010. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the San Joaquin College of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Hilary Chittick. Lor is a Democrat.

Geoffrey Wilson, 44, of Fresno, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Fresno County Superior Court. Wilson has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California since 2018. He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and Deputy Chief of the General Civil Section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central District of California from 2007 to 2018. Wilson earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. He fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Ana de Alba to the federal bench. Wilson is registered without party preference.Imperial County Superior Court

Michael Domenzain, 40, of Imperial, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Imperial County Superior Court. Domenzain has served as a Referee at the Imperial County Superior Court since 2018. He served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Imperial County District Attorney’s Office from 2009 to 2018 and was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Phoenix from 2014 to 2020. Domenzain earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Juan Ulloa. Domenzain is a Democrat.Los Angeles County Superior Court

Pamela Dansby, 54, of Pasadena, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Dansby has been Managing Attorney at Dansby Law Group APC since 2005. She served as a Deputy Alternate Public Defender at the Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender’s Office from 2000 to 2005. Dansby served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office from 1995 to 2000. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. Dansby fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Holly Thomas to the federal bench. She is a Democrat.

Jannet Perez Santiso, 43, of La Crescenta, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Santiso has served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office since 2007. She was an Associate at the Cifarelli Law Firm LLP from 2006 to 2007 and Senior Law Clerk there from 2004 to 2006. Santiso earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Western State College of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Kathleen Kennedy. Santiso is a Democrat.Mariposa County Superior Court

Anita Starchman Bryant, 45, of Mariposa, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Mariposa County Superior Court. Bryant has been a Sole Practitioner since 2018. She was a Partner at Starchman & Bryant, Attorneys at Law from 2005 to 2018. Bryant was an Associate at Downey Brand LLP from 2001 to 2004. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Bryant fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge F. Dana Walton. Bryant is a Democrat.Orange County Superior Court

William Zidbeck, 57, of Laguna Niguel, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Orange County Superior Court. Zidbeck has served as a Commissioner at the Orange County Superior Court since April of 2022. He served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from 1990 to 2020. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the California Western School of Law. Zidbeck fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Debra Carrillo. He is registered without party preference.Placer County Superior Court

Raymonn DeJesus, 40, of Roseville, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Placer County Superior Court. DeJesus has served as an Administrative Law Judge at the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board since 2020. He served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Placer County District Attorney’s Office from 2016 to 2020 and at the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office from 2015 to 2016. DeJesus served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office from 2010 to 2015. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Charles Wachob. DeJesus is registered without party preference.San Bernardino County Superior Court

Christian Towns, 40, of Rancho Cucamonga, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the San Bernardino County Superior Court. Towns has served as a Deputy District Attorney at the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office since 2012. She has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of La Verne College of Law since 2014. Towns served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office from 2010 to 2012. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Stetson University College of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Donna Garza. Towns is a Democrat.San Diego County Superior Court

Pennie McLaughlin, 60, of Del Mar, has been appointed to serve in an interim appointment as a Judge in the San Diego County Superior Court. McLaughlin has served as a Commissioner at the San Diego County Superior Court since 2004. She served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California from 2000 to 2004. She served in several positions at the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office from 1990 to 2000, including Supervising Attorney and Senior Trial Counsel. McLaughlin served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office from 1987 to 1990. McLaughlin earned a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Tamila Ipema. The Governor’s appointment allows her to immediately assume the position she was otherwise elected to begin in January 2023. McLaughlin is a Democrat.San Joaquin County Superior Court

Danielle Dunham-Ramirez, 54, of Elk Grove, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the San Joaquin County Superior Court. Dunham-Ramirez has served as Supervising Child Protective Services Counsel at the Office of the San Joaquin County Counsel since 2016, where she was a Deputy County Counsel from 2000 to 2016. She served as a Deputy Public Defender at the San Joaquin County Public Defender’s Office from 1998 to 2000. Dunham-Ramirez was a Sole Practitioner in 1998. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Lincoln Law School of Sacramento. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Roger Ross. Dunham-Ramirez is a Democrat.Santa Clara County Superior Court

Micael Estremera, 42, of San Jose, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Estremera has served as Supervising Deputy Public Defender at the Santa Clara County Office of the Public Defender since 2018, where he has been a Deputy Public Defender since 2008. He served as a Deputy County Counsel at the Office of the Santa Clara County Counsel from 2010 to 2011. Estremera was an Associate and Trial Consultant at Thelen LLP from 2005 to 2008. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Linda Clark. Estremera is a Democrat.

Kelley Kulick, 49, of Los Altos, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Kulick has served as Supervising Attorney of the Research Division at the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office since 2021, where she served in that role from 2009 to 2013 and has been a Deputy Public Defender since 1999. She served as a Research Clerk at the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office in 1998. Kulick earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge James Stoelker. Kulick is a Democrat.

Rebeca Esquivel-Pedroza, 49, of San Jose, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Esquivel-Pedroza has served as a Commissioner at the Santa Clara County Superior Court since 2020. She was Lead Staff Attorney at the Santa Clara County Superior Court’s Self-Help Center/Family Law Facilitator’s Office from 2019 to 2020, where she was a Staff Attorney from 2011 to 2020. Esquivel-Pedroza was a Staff Attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid from 2008 to 2011 and in private practice from 2003 to 2007. She was a Staff Attorney at the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program from 2002 to 2003. Esquivel-Pedroza earned a Juris Doctor degree from the California Western School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Ronald Toff. Esquivel-Pedroza is a Democrat.Sonoma County Superior Court

Laura Passaglia, 43, of Santa Rosa, has been appointed to serve in an interim appointment as a Judge in the Sonoma County Superior Court. Passaglia has served as a Commissioner at the Sonoma County Superior Court since 2021. She served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office from 2017 to 2021. She served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office from 2007 to 2017. Passaglia earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. She will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gary Nadler effective September 13, 2022. The Governor’s appointment allows her to immediately assume the position she was otherwise elected to begin in January 2023. Passaglia is a Democrat.Ventura County Superior Court

Maureen Houska, 57, of Ventura, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Ventura County Superior Court. Houska has been a Partner at Woo | Houska LLP since 2013. She was an Associate at Benton, Orr, Duval & Buckingham from 2008 to 2013 and in 1999. Houska was an Associate at Lawler, Bonham & Walsh from 1994 to 1998, at Franscell, Strickland, Roberts & Lawrence from 1992 to 1994 and at Cotkin, Collins & Franscell from 1990 to 1992. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William Liebmann. Houska is a Democrat.The compensation for each of these positions is $229,125.