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Gov. Gray Davis continued a recent spate of judicial appointments Wednesday by filling vacancies on the Third District Court of Appeal and the San Diego County Superior Court bench. Davis named Nevada County Judge M. Kathleen Butz, 53, to the Sacramento-based appeal court. A vacancy was created by the departure of Consuelo Callahan, who was appointed to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and confirmed earlier this year. Before becoming a judge in 1997, Butz worked at two local private firms in Nevada City, doing land use and planning, personal injury and other litigation. She’s also served as presiding judge. She graduated from UC-Davis’ Kin Hall School of Law and has been active with the California Center for Judicial Education and Research. Butz will have to be confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. In San Diego, Davis appointed two former assistant U.S. attorneys to the bench. Yvonne Esperanza Campos, 39, has been with the San Diego U.S. attorney’s office since 1995. Before that, she worked at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison and Morrison & Foerster. Earlier in her career, she was also politically active, serving on the staffs of Attorney General Janet Reno and state Sen. Gary Hart. She is a member of San Diego La Raza and attended Harvard Law School. Julia Craig Kelety, 43, is a partner at Wiggins & Kelety. Previously, she also worked at the San Diego U.S. attorney’s office. She attended Cornell Law School. On Tuesday, Davis named two Solano County deputy district attorneys, Robert Bowers, 43, and Michael Mattice, 55, to the superior court bench there. Before coming to the DA’s office, Bowers served as a U.S. Army judge advocate general. He’s also been a legal adviser to the Pentagon’s Army Operation Center. He attended Georgetown University Law Center. Mattice joined the DA’s office in 2001. He worked at McPherson, Barnett & Mattice for 15 years and then went out on his own. He attended Hastings College of the Law. This week’s judicial appointments are the latest in an uptick since the recall election gained steam. Although Davis’ office denies he’s naming judges at a greater clip because of the impending election, the governor has been steadily chipping away at the number of vacancies in recent weeks, especially in the courts of appeal. As of Wednesday, there were no appeal court vacancies and just 35 openings on superior court benches.

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