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Governor Newsom Announces Judicial Appointments 6.27.23

SACRAMENTO –  Governor Gavin Newsom today announced his appointment of 15 Superior Court Judges, which include one in Contra Costa County; two in Kern County; three in Los Angeles County; one in Orange County; two in San Bernardino County; one in San Joaquin County; two in Santa Clara County; two in Tulare County; and one in Yolo County.

Contra Costa County Superior Court

Peter Chang, of Contra Costa County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Contra Costa County Superior Court. Chang has served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General since 2014. He was a Founding Partner at Black Chang & Hamill LLP from 2011 to 2014 and served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 2010 to 2011. Chang was an Associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP from 2007 to 2010, at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC from 2005 to 2007 and at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP from 2003 to 2005. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center. Chang fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Barry Baskin. He is a Democrat.

Kern County Superior Court

Dawn Bittleston, of Kern County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Kern County Superior Court. Bittleston has served as a Commissioner at the Kern County Superior Court since 2018. She served as a Senior Attorney at the Kern County Superior Court from 2016 to 2017 and was a Sole Practitioner from 2006 to 2016. Bittleston was Of Counsel at the Law Office of Young Wooldrige from 2011 to 2013, a Partner at Klein, DeNatale, Goldner, Copper, Rosenlieb and Kimball LLP from 2001 to 2006 and a Sole Practitioner from 2000 to 2001. She was an Associate at Bryan Cave LLP from 1998 to 2000. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California School of Law. Bittleston fills the vacancy of a new position created on July 1, 2022. She is registered without party preference.

 

Marcus Cuper, of Kern County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Kern County Superior Court. Cuper has served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Kern County District Attorney’s Office since 2008. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern Law School. Cuper fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert S. Tafoya. He is a Democrat.

Los Angeles County Superior Court

Michelle Graves, of Riverside County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Graves has served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office since 2012. She served as a Deputy Sheriff at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department from 2001 to 2012. Graves served in several roles at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department from 1995 to 1999, including as a Deputy Sheriff, Fiscal Clerk and Custody Assistant. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Irvine College of Law. Graves fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David Sotelo. She is a Democrat.

Jerome Haig, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Haig has been a Sole Practitioner since 2013. He served as a Deputy Alternate Public Defender at the Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender’s Office from 1994 to 2013 and as a Deputy Federal Public Defender at the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California in 1994. Haig served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office from 1988 to 1994. He was an Associate at Sall, Spencer, Callas & Krueger ALC in 1988. Haig is a Major in the California State Guard, serving as a Judge Advocate in Legal Support Command and as Deputy Chief of Trial Defense Services. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Holly E. Kendig. Haig is a Democrat.

Dina Richman, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Richman has been Corporate Counsel at Farmers Group, Inc., since 2022. She was a Partner at Cozen O’Connor from 2017 to 2022 and an Associate there from 2014 to 2017. She was an Associate at Sedgwick LLP from 2007 to 2014. Richman earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Richard E. Naranjo. She is registered without party preference.

Orange County Superior Court

Justin Glenn-Leistikow, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Orange County Superior Court. Glenn-Leistikow has been a Senior Deputy Public Defender at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office since 2016 and has served as a Deputy Public Defender there since 2005. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. Glenn-Leistikow fills the vacancy created by elevation of Judge Thomas Delaney to the Court of Appeal. He is a Democrat.

San Bernardino County Superior Court

Zahara Tigeri Arredondo, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the San Bernardino County Superior Court. Arredondo has served as a Deputy Public Defender at the San Bernardino County Public Defender’s Office since 2008. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Trinity Law School. She fills the vacancy of a new position created on July 1, 2022. Arredondo is a Democrat.

Sarah Oliver, of Riverside County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the San Bernardino County Superior Court. Oliver has served as a Deputy County Counsel at the San Bernardino County Counsel’s Office since 2018. She was a Trial Attorney at the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles from 2006 to 2018. Oliver earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Whittier College School of Law. She fills the vacancy of a new position created on July 1, 2022. Oliver is a Democrat.

San Joaquin County Superior Court

Tameem Mardini, of San Joaquin County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the San Joaquin County Superior Court. Mardini has served as a Commissioner at the San Joaquin County Superior Court since 2021. He was a Sole Practitioner from 2020 to 2021. Mardini was an Attorney at the Law Office of Joel Carash from 2008 to 2019. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Golden Gate University School of Law. Mardini fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Elizabeth Humphreys. He is registered without party preference.

Santa Clara County Superior Court

Vinita Bali, of Santa Clara County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Bali has served as International Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at Stanford University and as Senior Director of Risk Strategies in the Office of the Chief Risk Officer at Stanford University since 2022. She served as Director of Global Risk in the Office of the Chief Risk Officer at Stanford University from 2017 to 2022. Bali served as a Lecturer in Law at the Santa Clara University School of Law from 2008 to 2021 and was Director of Global Programs at Stanford Law School in 2020. She served as Dean of International Student Programs at the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District from 2015 to 2017. She was Managing Director of the Center for Global Law and Policy at the Santa Clara University School of Law from 2008 to 2015 and Director of the Law School’s Academic Success Program from 2002 to 2008. Bali was an Associate at the Silicon Valley Law Group from 2000 to 2002, at Reed, Elliott, Creech and Roth in 1999 and at the Huber-Samuelson Law Group from 1996 to 1999. She earned a Master of Laws degree and a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. Bali fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Joseph H. Huber. She is a Democrat.

Stephen Lowney, of Santa Clara County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Lowney has served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office since 2002 and was cross-designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney there in 2005. He was an Associate at Littler Mendelson P.C. from 2001 to 2002. Lowney served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office from 1994 to 2000 and was a Law Clerk at Korda Johnson and Wall LLP from 1993 to 1994. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Saint Louis University School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Katherine L. Lucero. Lowney is a Democrat.

Tulare County Superior Court

Sara Bratsch, of Tulare County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Tulare County Superior Court. Bratsch has been a Sole Practitioner since 2010. She was an Associate at Houk and Hornburg LLP from 2008 to 2010 and served as a Conflict Attorney at the Tulare County Conflict Defender’s Office from 2008 to 2009. Bratsch served both as a Deputy District Attorney and a Supervising Deputy District Attorney at the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office from 1997 to 2007. She served as a Law Clerk in the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office Family Support Division from 1996 to 1997 Bratsch earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She fills the vacancy of a new position created on July 1, 2022. She is a Democrat.

 

Russell Burke, of Tulare County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Tulare County Superior Court. Burke has been a Partner at Williams Brodersen Pritchett & Burke LLP since 2018. He was an Associate at Williams Brodersen & Pritchett LLP from 2011 to 2017 and served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office from 2007 to 2011. Burke earned a Juris Doctor degree from Lewis and Clark Law School. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Michael B. Sheltzer. He is registered without party preference.

Yolo County Superior Court

Catherine Hohenwarter, of Yolo County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Yolo County Superior Court. Hohenwarter has served as a Commissioner at the Yolo County Superior Court since 2020 and has held several positions there since 2007, including Judge Pro Tem, Family Law Facilitator, Family Court Services Manager, Self-Help Attorney and Legal Research Attorney. She was a Sole Practitioner from 1999 to 2007 and an Associate at the Law Office of Robert P. Kahn from 1994 to 1998. Hohenwarter was an Associate at Lossing & Elston from 1990 to 1994. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Idaho College of Law. Hohenwarter fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David W. Reed. She is registered without party preference.

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

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