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SACRAMENTO � Peter Siggins, legal affairs secretary to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a possible candidate for a slot on the First District Court of Appeal. A state senator and the chief deputy in the state attorney general’s office confirmed Monday that they had received recent letters from the Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission asking for their evaluation of Siggins. The 15-year veteran of the AG’s office rose to become Bill Lockyer’s chief deputy before joining Schwarzenegger’s administration in 2003, where, among his duties, he helps the governor pick judges. First District Justice Laurence Kay’s retirement on Wednesday leaves a vacancy on that bench. “Peter Siggins would be an excellent nomination to the appellate court,” said state Sen. Joe Dunn, D-Santa Ana, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who received a JNE Commission letter about Siggins. “I am confident he has the support from all ends of the political spectrum. � To me, he is the epitome of a great nominee.” Dunn said he had received a letter from the JNE commission about two weeks ago asking for input on Siggins. Richard Frank, who succeeded Siggins as Lockyer’s chief deputy for legal affairs, said he also had received a JNE letter on his former colleague. “He would be a terrific appellate justice,” Frank said, lamenting the possible loss of Siggins from the governor’s office. A call to Siggins’ office seeking comment was not returned Monday. Under Lockyer, Siggins oversaw thousands of criminal appeals, civil suits and other litigation handled by more than a thousand lawyers. Prior to that, he headed the attorney general’s correctional law section. Siggins, who was registered Independent in November 2003 when he got the legal affairs job, received his J.D. from Hastings College of the Law and worked in private practice in the Bay Area before joining the attorney general’s office. Daniel Kolkey, a Republican and former member of the Third District Court of Appeal who is now a partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, said Siggins would make a “superb” addition to the appeal court. If appointed, Siggins would assume his post without having served on a lower post � a situation Kolkey also faced. Kolkey was the judicial appointments secretary to then-Gov. Pete Wilson, who appointed him to the Third District in 1998. Kolkey said Siggins’ lack of previous bench experience would not prove a hindrance. “When someone has the background Peter Siggins has, both in the criminal and civil arenas, and the breadth of experience he has, he would be in a position to immediately tackle the duties of appellate court justice,” Kolkey said. Siggins’ name was recently linked to the controversy over Proposition 77, a redistricting ballot measure sought by Schwarzenegger and his supporters. A court battle over discrepancies in the circulation of Prop 77 was fought all the way to the California Supreme Court, which ruled earlier this month that the measure should go before voters in November rather than be knocked off the ballot for irregularities. In the course of litigating the measure in Sacramento County Superior Court and the Third District, it was revealed that Siggins and Kolkey had known about the problems before the measure was officially circulated for the November ballot by Secretary of State Bruce McPherson. Kolkey said he doubted Siggins’ nomination would be affected by the issue. “I don’t think anyone can blame him for doing his job in a principled and ethical fashion,” Kolkey said. “He does, after all, represent the governor.”

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