SAN FRANCISCO The Monterey County tradition will live on at the Sixth District Court of Appeal.
Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday nominated Monterey County Superior Court Judge Adrienne Grover to the San Jose-based appellate court. She succeeds Justice Wendy Duffy, who also came from the Monterey bench and was the only justice on the court from outside Santa Clara County.
"We certainly hoped that the governor's office would continue to fill that position with someone from Monterey County, and we're very pleased that he did," said Monterey County Bar Association President Juliet Peck. She described Grover as thoughtful and respectful of all who appear in her court. "It's a great loss to our bench," she added.
Grover, 50, is a known quantity at the Sixth District, having served as a pro tem justice at the court during much of 2011. Presiding Justice Conrad Rushing said Grover relished the role. "She's a very good writer," he said. "We all have attorney help, but she's very good at rolling up her sleeves and preparing straightforward, readable opinions."
Grover is also the second former county counsel in a row appointed to the court. Justice Miguel Marquez was county counsel for Santa Clara before his appointment this summer; Grover served in the Monterey County counsel's office for seven years, including the past three in the top role, before joining the superior court bench in 2002.
Assuming she is confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, Grover's addition will bring the seven-member Sixth District to full strength for the first time since Justice Richard McAdams' departure nearly two years ago. That will help the court tackle a recent backlog of cases, Rushing said.
Grover's appointment also maintains the court's current gender balance. Duffy was one of only two women on the court.
The governor also appointed six other lawyers to superior court seats on Friday, with public sector service being a recurring theme.
Senior assistant attorney general Steven Gevercer, 54, and family law practitioner Bunmi Awoniyi, 48, were appointed to Sacramento County Superior Court. Gevercer has spent at least 14 years with the attorney general's office, including a four-year stint as a legislative affairs advocate. He also worked as a public defender in Sacramento and Tulare counties before joining the AG. He has a J.D. from University of San Francisco School of Law.
Awoniyi has been in private practice most of her career, though she worked as a crown prosecutor in London in 1989 and 1990. She has a J.D. from London's Inns of Court School of Law and a Master of Laws from the University of Leicester.
Michael Jurkovich, 57, was appointed to Madera County Superior Court. Jurkovich worked as a police and correctional officer for a total of 23 years before earning his law degree in 1990 from San Joaquin College of Law. He has since practiced at two Fresno law firms.
Brian McNamara, 57, was appointed to Kern County Superior Court. McNamara is a solo criminal practitioner who has worked as a professor of business law and management information systems at California State University-Bakersfield since 1986. He obtained his J.D. from Newport University School of Law in Newport Beach.
Court commissioner Michael Williams, 66, was appointed to Napa County Superior Court. Williams has been a Napa court commissioner for 11 years, before which he worked as a research attorney at the court for five years and deputy public defender in Napa for 10. He graduated from Golden Gate University School of Law in 1986.
Gilbert Romero, 40, was appointed to Ventura County Superior court. Romero has been a deputy DA in that county since 1999. He has a J.D. from UC-Hastings law school.
Grover, Gevercer, Awoniyi, Williams and Romero are Democrats. Jurkovich is a Republican and McNamara is registered as decline-to-state. Superior court judges earn $178,789 a year. Appellate judges make $204,599.