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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Mark Pierce and Derek Woodhouse on Monday to the last remaining vacancies on the Santa Clara County Superior Court bench. “They are both great appointments. Both have great temperaments and respectability. They are going to be great judges,” said retired Superior Court Judge Joseph Biafore Jr., who is familiar with the work of both men. “I’m really glad to see the governor is starting to make some good appointments,” Biafore added. The 56-year-old Pierce will replace Biafore, who retired from the bench in 2003. Pierce, a Saratoga resident, has spent the past 30 years practicing law in San Jose, most recently specializing in personal injury and workers’ compensation at the law offices of Olson & Pierce, where he is a partner. “I’m just looking forward to the new challenge. It’s a good way to expand my experience in the law and also work in the community,” Pierce said. Pierce, a Republican, received his J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law. He’s a member of the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association and Consumer Attorneys of California. Pierce said he currently has a full caseload sitting on his desk and doesn’t know when he will assume the bench. Woodhouse, 57, was a deputy district attorney for Santa Clara County from 1977-79. He now specializes in employment law at Thelen Reid & Priest. Before that he was a partner in the San Jose office of Littler Mendelson, where he spent about 25 years. Woodhouse said he found out about his judgeship last week, the day before his birthday. “I almost sobbed. I was thrilled,” he said Monday. “I am looking forward to a wide variety of issues. I really have no particular preference.” Woodhouse, a Republican, plans to take the bench April 21, filling the vacancy left by retired Judge James Chang. A San Jose resident, Woodhouse also earned his law degree from Santa Clara University. Schwarzenegger also tapped David Gottlieb, a Democrat, for a judgeship in Fresno County Superior Court. Gottlieb has spent the past two years as a commissioner for the Fresno court system. Prior to that, he was in private practice for 15 years and specialized in criminal defense. Gottlieb, 43, received his law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He replaces retired Judge A. Dennis Caeton. Pierce, Woodhouse and Gottlieb will all earn $139,784 a year.

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