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Governor Newsom Announces Judicial Appointments 12.7.23

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced his nomination of two Court of Appeal Justices: Judge Monique Langhorne Wilson as an Associate Justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Division One and Aimee Feinberg as an Associate Justice of the Third District Court of Appeal.

The Governor also announced his appointment of 18 Superior Court Judges, which include one in Contra Costa County; eight in Los Angeles County; one in Madera County; one in Marin County; three in Orange County; one in Riverside County; two in San Francisco County; and one in Santa Barbara County.

First District Court of Appeal

Judge Monique Langhorne Wilson, of Solano County, has been nominated to serve as an Associate Justice of the First District Court of Appeal, Division One. She has served as a Judge at the Napa County Superior Court since 2018. Judge Langhorne Wilson served as a Commissioner at the Napa County Superior Court from 2006 to 2018. She served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Napa County District Attorney’s Office from 2000 to 2006 and was a Family Support Officer at the Napa County Department of Child Support Services from 1999 to 2000. Judge Langhorne Wilson earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the appointment of Justice Gabriel P. Sanchez to the federal bench. 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. Judge Langhorne Wilson is a Democrat.

Third District Court of Appeal

Aimee Feinberg, of Yolo County, has been nominated to serve as an Associate Justice of the Third District Court of Appeal. Feinberg has been Of Counsel at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP since 2023. She served as a Deputy Solicitor General at the California Department of Justice from 2014 to 2023. She was a Lecturer and Director of the California Supreme Court Clinic at the University of California, Davis School of Law from 2012 to 2014 and an Associate at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP from 2005 to 2011. She served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Stephen G. Breyer at the U.S. Supreme Court from 2004 to 2005 and for the Honorable David S. Tatel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 2003 to 2004. Feinberg was an Associate at Covington & Burling from 2002 to 2003. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School. Feinberg fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Andrea Hoch. 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 Laurie M. Earl. Feinberg is a Democrat.

The compensation for each of these positions is $265,944.

Contra Costa County Superior Court

Melissa O’Connell, of Contra Costa County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Contra Costa County Superior Court. O’Connell has been Interim Co-Legal Director at the Northern California Innocence Project, Santa Clara University School of Law since May 2023 and has been a Staff Attorney and Policy Liaison there since 2010. She was a Lecturer at the Santa Clara University School of Law from 2010 to 2023. O’Connell was a Sole Practitioner in 2009 and an Attorney at Cooper Law Offices from 2007 to 2009. She served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Solano County Public Defender’s Office from 2004 to 2007 and was a Staff Attorney at Fresh Lifelines for Youth from 2003 to 2004. O’Connell earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Nancy D. Stark. O’Connell is a Democrat.

Los Angeles County Superior Court

Kelly Boyer, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Boyer has served as Supervising Attorney at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office since 2019 and has served in several roles there since 2008, including filing and trial Attorney. She was an Associate at Carrick and Conrad from 2006 to 2007. Boyer earned a Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Randy Rhodes. Boyer is registered without party preference.

 

Stephanie Dixon, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Dixon has served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender’s Office since 2002. She served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office from 1997 to 2002 and in the Office of the San Diego County Public Defender’s Office from 1995 to 1997. Dixon earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Justice Audra Mori to the Court of Appeal. Dixon is a Democrat.

Christine Gonong, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Gonong has served as a Commissioner at the Los Angeles County Superior Court since 2022. She served as a member of the State Bar of California Board of Trustees from 2020 to 2022. Gonong was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law from 2017 to 2022 and at the Los Angeles Valley College in 2017. She was Director of Law and Motion at Nguyen Lawyers ALC from 2016 to 2022 and served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Jacqueline H. Nguyen at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 2012 to 2014. Gonong earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Wesley Hsu to the federal bench. Gonong is a Democrat.

Anne Kiley, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Kiley has been a Partner at Elkins Kalt Weintraub Reuben & Gartside LLP since 2016. She was a Partner at Kiley Dunlap LLP in 2016. Kiley was a Partner at Trope and Trope LLP from 1999 to 2016 and was an Associate there from 1990 to 1999. She was an Associate at O’Melveny & Myers from 1989 to 1990. Kiley earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Dalila C. Lyons. She is a Democrat.

Natalie Nardecchia, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Nardecchia has been a Senior Trial Attorney at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 2019 and has served in several roles there since 2018, including Acting Supervisory Attorney and Trial Attorney. She was a Senior Attorney at Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund from 2017 to 2018. Nardecchia served as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor from 2012 to 2017 and was a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles from 2011 to 2012. She was an Associate at Hadsell Stormer Renick & Dai LLP from 2007 to 2010 and a Legal Fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California from 2006 to 2007. Nardecchia earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge James R. Dabney. Nardecchia is a Democrat.

Scott Nord, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Nord has served as a Commissioner at the Los Angeles County Superior Court since 2015. He was a Sole Practitioner from 1997 to 2015. Nord was an Attorney at the Law Offices of Klass, Helman & Ross from 1996 to 1997. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Whittier Law School. Nord fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Yolanda Orozco. He is a Democrat.

 

Melanie Ochoa, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Ochoa has been Director of Police Practices at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California since 2021, where she has been Senior Staff Attorney since 2020 and was a Staff Attorney from 2016 to 2020. She was an Associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP from 2012 to 2016 and served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 2011 to 2012. Ochoa earned a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School and a Master of Arts degree in Sociology and Doctor of Philosophy degree in Sociology and Social Policy from Harvard University. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Nancy L. Newman. Ochoa is a Democrat.

Stephanie Santoro, of Los Angeles County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Santoro has served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General since 2012. She was an Associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP from 2008 to 2011. Santoro earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Justice Rashida Adams to the Court of Appeal. She is a Democrat.

Madera County Superior Court

Miguel Valdovinos, of Madera County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Madera County Superior Court. Valdovinos has served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office since June 2023. He served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Madera County District Attorney’s Office from 2020 to June 2023. He served in several roles at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office from 2015 to 2019, including Senior Deputy District Attorney and Supervising Deputy District Attorney. Valdovinos was an Adjunct Professor at Lincoln Law School from 2016 to 2018. He served as an Assistant District Attorney at the Madera County District Attorney’s office from 2011 to 2015 and served in several positions at the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office from 2000 to 2010, including Chief Deputy District Attorney, Supervising Deputy District Attorney and Deputy District Attorney. He was a Deputy District Attorney at the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office in 2000 and at the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office from 1996 to 1999. Valdovinos earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge James E. Oakley. Valdovinos is a Republican.

Marin County Superior Court

Judge Kevin Murphy, of Marin County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Marin County Superior Court. He has served as a Judge at the Alameda County Superior Court since 2006. He served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office from 1985 to 2006 and as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General in 1994. Judge Murphy earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Roy Chernus. Judge Murphy is a Democrat.

Orange County Superior Court

June Jee An, of Orange County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Orange County Superior Court. An has served as a Commissioner at the Orange County Superior Court since 2022. She served as a Deputy General Counsel at the Orange County Superior Court from 2016 to 2022 and as a Probate Research Attorney there from 2014 to 2016. An served as a Research Attorney at the Los Angeles County Superior Court from 2005 to 2014 and was an Associate at Kalcheim Salah from 2003 to 2005. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. An fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Kim R. Hubbard. She is a Democrat.

Huy Nguyen, of Orange County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Orange County Superior Court. Nguyen has served as a Senior Deputy Alternate Defender at the Orange County Alternate Defender’s Office since 2018. He served as a Senior Deputy Public Defender at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office from 2003 to 2018. Nguyen was an Attorney at the Law Office of Andre Lam in 2003 and in the Law Office of Peter Nguyen from 2002 to 2003. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Whittier Law School. Nguyen fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gerald G. Johnston. He is a Democrat.

Kunthavi Watson, of Orange County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Orange County Superior Court. Watson has served as a Commissioner at the Orange County Superior Court since 2023. She served in several roles at the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office from 2008 to 2023, including Supervising Deputy City Prosecutor and Deputy City Prosecutor. She was an Attorney at Trutanich Michel LLP from 2006 to 2007. Watson earned a Juris Doctor degree from Whittier Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Dennis J. Keough. Watson is a Democrat.

Riverside County Superior Court

Melissa Hale, of San Bernardino County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Riverside County Superior Court. Hale has served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Riverside County Public Defender’s Office since 2006. She was an Adjunct Professor at the University of La Verne College of Law from 2016 to 2019. Hale earned a Juris Doctor degree from Whittier Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Elaine Kiefer. She is registered without party preference.

San Francisco County Superior Court

Anne Costin, of San Francisco County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the San Francisco County Superior Court. Costin has been a Sole Practitioner since 2013. She was an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law from 2011 to 2017 and an Associate at the Dolan Law Firm from 2007 to 2013. Costin earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gail Dekreon. She is a Democrat.

Kenneth Wine, of San Francisco County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the San Francisco County Superior Court. Wine has been a Partner at Hallinan & Wine since 2000. He was an Associate at Niesen & Associates from 1992 to 1997. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Ohio State University College of Law. Wine fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Cynthia M. Lee. He is a Democrat.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court

Stephen Dunkle, of Santa Barbara County, has been appointed to serve as a Judge in the Santa Barbara County Superior Court. Dunkle has been a Partner at Sanger Dunkle Law PC since 2011 and was an Associate there from 2004 to 2011. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. Dunkle fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Brian E. Hill. He is a Democrat.

The compensation for each of these positions is $232,399.

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