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Outgoing Gov. Gray Davis continued filling the bench Thursday with appointments in Santa Clara and Mendocino counties. Appointed to the Santa Clara bench were Philip Pennypacker and Vincent Chiarello. Pennypacker, 56, is a solo criminal defense attorney who also defends State Bar discipline cases. He is past president of the Santa Clara County Bar Association and California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and was acting public defender in San Jose. He attended Santa Clara University School of Law. Chiarello, 46, is a partner at Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office, where he handles complex litigation, and is a resident of Mill Valley. He attended Yale Law School. In Mendocino, David Nelson, 56, leaves his small firm, Nelson & Riemenschneider in Ukiah, to join the bench. He also defends criminal cases. After attending Yale Law School, he worked as a public defender before heading into private practice. The latest announcement, combined with the seven judges Davis appointed Wednesday, means there are only about 15 vacancies left on the superior court bench statewide. There aren’t any appellate slots. The governor stepped up his appointments when the recall gained momentum, although his office denies there’s any connection. Republican and Democratic lawyers expect Davis will try to fill the bench before he leaves. The deadline for the recall to be certified is Nov. 15, though Davis could leave if Secretary of State Kevin Shelley finishes before then. At a press conference Thursday, Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger called on Davis to cease all appointments and stop signing legislation while the recall is being certified. Dozens of bills are still sitting on the governor’s desk awaiting his approval or veto. A Davis spokesman, however, said the governor would continue to “make appointments and act on legislation as the California Constitution obligates him to do.” Several key advisers to Davis have put their names in to be judges but are still waiting for appointments, including judicial appointments secretary Burt Pines, head of legal affairs Barry Goode and Jeremiah Hallisey, a San Francisco lawyer who is one of Davis’ top fund raisers in the Bay Area.

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