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COURT: Alameda County Superior APPOINTED: 1998, via trial court unification DATE OF BIRTH: Oct. 29, 1949 LAW SCHOOL: Hastings College of the Law PREVIOUS JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE: Municipal court judge, Fremont-Newark-Union City district. Appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson in 1997. Judge Keith Fudenna prefers court presentations with spit and polish. But in the real world, the Alameda County judge said, harried attorneys may not have time to put in that extra effort. “I like to see more formal presentations,” Fudenna said recently, but he added, “I am not demanding. I know that I am not the only judge in their lives. I know that they have other cases across the county and across the Bay.” Attorneys who appear before Fudenna say that he’s pleasant but can come off as cool and a bit formal. Although Fudenna doesn’t exude a lot of warmth on the bench, defense attorneys say that the ex-prosecutor is fairly evenhanded and rarely loses his composure. The prosecutor assigned to Fudenna’s courtroom, Christopher Infante, praised the judge for fairness, and defense attorneys largely agreed. “He is very even-tempered,” said Deputy Public Defender Pauline Weaver. She said she enjoys appearing before Fudenna, but that some attorneys have trouble because he may sometimes seem “stand-offish” on the bench. That said, Weaver added, it’s hard to ruffle Fudenna’s feathers. Unlike other jurists he doesn’t fall into the trap of verbally sparring with attorneys who goad him in court, she said. “If he had a pet peeve, you wouldn’t know it,” she said. “He will let you put on your case,” said Thomas Knutsen, a Newark criminal defense attorney. Another criminal defense attorney, Cornell Solomon of Fremont, advised colleagues that Fudenna prefers written motions. On a summer day the sweltering, manicured business district near the Fremont Hall of Justice seems a world away from Oakland’s Rene C. Davidson Courthouse. And in a way, it is. The Fremont court is 27 miles south of the Oakland hub, slightly further from the main courthouse than the Pleasanton branch court. Fudenna’s department, however, is not a sleepy suburban courtroom. On a given day, his calendar may be piled high with law and motion, progress reports, pretrial conferences, case management conferences, probate cases and a misdemeanor trial. Attorneys who make an effort to call if they will be late, or who talk to the DA about an offer before they appear in court, will win points with Fudenna. Fudenna’s legal career began in the Alameda County district attorney’s office, where he prosecuted cases for five years. From the early 1980s until 1990 Fudenna was in private practice, handling criminal and civil cases. For seven years, one of his law partners was Ronald Sabraw, a Fremont attorney appointed to the Alameda County bench in 1987. A few years later, Fudenna was tapped to be a Fremont court commissioner. In 1997, Gov. Wilson appointed Fudenna to the municipal court bench. In 1995, Fudenna, who was then a commissioner, was one of several Alameda County judicial applicants who switched their political affiliations from Democrat to Republican while Wilson was in office. At the time, Fudenna said that the change reflected his political beliefs. Fudenna has spent most of his legal and judicial career in Fremont. His family has deep roots in the area and nurtured his civic pride, the judge said. Fudenna’s grandparents immigrated to the area from Japan at the turn of the century. The judge’s family farmed and owned land in the area. In 1960 Fudenna’s grandmother persuaded relatives to donate five acres of that land to the city, as a way to give back to the community. Fudenna’s uncle, Tak Fudenna, helped spearhead improvements at a local high school’s football field, and Washington High School’s stadium now bears his name. Those community ties fostered Fudenna’s desire to be a judge, he said. “It was all part of a subtle hint that you should contribute to the community.”

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