Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday filled some of the last remaining vacancies on California’s appellate courts, nominating two of his top legal aides to posts on the First and Third districts.
Peter Krause, Brown’s legal affairs secretary since 2014 and formerly a state Department of Justice prosecutor, will serve on the Third District Court of Appeal if he is confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, The Sacramento appellate court is a frequent landing spot for gubernatorial lawyers. Current Justices Louis Mauro, Andrea Hoch and Jonathan Renner all served as legal advisers before their appointments to the court.
Brown named his deputy legal affairs secretary, Gabriel Sanchez, to the First District Court of Appeal, where he will take office, if confirmed, after he completes his work in the governor’s office at the end of the year. Joining Sanchez on the First District is Carin Fujisaki, a top attorney to Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye since 2015.
First District Associate Justice Stuart Pollak was elevated to presiding justice of the court’s Division Four by Brown.
Brown also nominated Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Frank Menetrez to a new, legislatively created position on the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Riverside. Prior to joining the Los Angeles bench in 2015, Menetrez was an attorney for the Second District Court of Appeal.
At least two vacancies remain on the Second District Court of Appeal. Joshua Groban, Brown’s legal appointments adviser, is being vetted for one of those positions.
Brown also named 11 trial court judges on Friday, including five in the Bay Area.
Linda Lye, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, will join the Contra Costa County Superior Court bench. The former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a former Altshuler Berzon partner and an experienced litigator in areas of digital privacy and government surveillance.
Alexandra Robert Gordon and Michael McNaughton were appointed to the San Francisco Superior Court. Gordon served as a deputy attorney general for the state since 2009 and was previously a staff attorney and supervisor for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. McNaughton has been a partner at Hanson Bridgett since 2002 and has been with the firm since 1993.
Amarra Lee, a San Mateo County deputy district attorney, will join that county’s bench. A former senior associate at Farella Braun + Martel, Lee will be the first African-American woman ever to serve as a judge on the court.
Syda Cogliati has been given an interim appointment to the Santa Cruz County Superior Court. She was elected to a judgeship there in the June election, and her appointment allows her to fill an existing vacancy now instead of waiting until January. Cogliati has served as a senior research attorney for the Sixth District Court of Appeal since 2012.
Friday’s group of appointments did not include a new state Supreme Court associate justice, a position that has been vacant for 14 months. Brown, who leaves office in January, has given no indication of when he intends to nominate a new justice to the high court.
The governor’s vacancies announcement is posted below: