Governor Newsom Appoints 14 Superior Court Judges 4.28.20

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SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the appointment of 14 California superior court judges, which include two in Alameda County, three in Los Angeles County, two in Orange County, two in Sacramento County, one in San Bernardino County, two in San Mateo County, one in Santa Clara County and one in Yolo County.

Alameda County Superior Court


Rebekah B. Evenson, 45, of Oakland, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Alameda County Superior Court. Evenson has been director of litigation and advocacy for Bay Area Legal Aid since 2016. She was senior staff attorney at Prison Law Office from 2008 to 2016. She was an associate at Altshuler Berzon LLP from 2002 to 2008. She worked as a Skadden fellow for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area from 2000 to 2002. Evenson served as a law clerk for Judge Betty B. Fletcher at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit from 1999 to 2000. Evenson earned a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Kimberly M. Briggs. Evenson is a Democrat. 

Joscelyn Jones, 63, of Brentwood, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Alameda County Superior Court. Jones has served as a judge pro tem in the Alameda County Superior Court Probate Division since 2016 and has been president, CEO and attorney at Jones Torru Law P.C. since 1997. She was an adjunct professor at the John F. Kennedy University College of Law from 2006 to 2015. Jones was assistant chief counsel at the Bayview Hunters Point Foundation in 2000. She was a deputy state public defender from 1995 to 1996 and a sole practitioner from 1992 to 1995. Jones was interim director of the Criminal Defender Program at the New College of California School of Law from 1992 to 1994. She was a deputy public defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office from 1990 to 1991 and at the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office from 1983 to 1990. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte. Jones is a Democrat.

Los Angeles County Superior Court


Michelle E. DeCasas, 43, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. DeCasas has served as a deputy city attorney at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office since 2007. She was a civil litigation associate at Tesser & Ruttenberg from 2003 to 2007. DeCasas earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge John J. CheroskeDeCasas is a Democrat.

Lisa R. Washington, 54, of Diamond Bar, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Washington has served as a deputy public defender at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office since 1994. She was an associate at Dickson & Associates from 1993 to 1994 and at the Law Office of Leo James Terrell in 1994 and from 1992 to 1993. Washington was a legal redress coordinator for the N.A.A.C.P Legal Redress Committee in 1992. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Dan T. Oki. Washington is a Democrat. 

John C. Weller, 39, of Inglewood, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. He has served as a deputy district attorney at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office since 2007. He served as a deputy district attorney at the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office from 2005 to 2007. He was a law clerk at the Law Offices of Caree Harper in 2005. Weller earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gerald S. Rosenberg. Weller is a Democrat. 

Orange County Superior Court


Robert Gerard, 64, of Newport Beach, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Orange County Superior Court. Gerard has been shareholder and chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group at Friedman Stroffe & Gerard P.C. since 2000. He was a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group at Pillsbury Madison & Sutro LLP from 1997 to 2000 and was an associate there from 1994 to 1997. Gerard was a senior associate at Pettis Tester Kruse & Krinsky from 1990 to 1994. He was an associate at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLC from 1987 to 1990. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert C. Gannon. Gerard is registered without party preference.

Thomas J. Lo, 55, of Lake Forest, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Orange County Superior Court. Lo has served as an assistant public defender at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office since 2001. He was an associate at Hatton, Petrie & Stackler from 1999 to 2001 and at Cooksey, Howard, Martin & Toolen in 1999. Lo served as a deputy public defender at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office from 1996 to 1999. He was an associate at LaFollette, Johnson, DeHaasFesler & Ames from 1992 to 1996 and at George & Shields in 1992. He was an associate at the Law Offices of Gerald Schubert in 1992. Lo was a law clerk at Lanak & Hanna in 1991. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Western State College of Law. Lo fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Kim G. Dunning. Lo is a Democrat.

Sacramento County Superior Court


Carlton G. Davis, 41, of Roseville, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Sacramento County Superior Court. Davis has served as a court commissioner at the Sacramento County Superior Court since 2017. He served as a deputy district attorney at the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office from 2006 to 2017. Davis served as a deputy district attorney at the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office from 2003 to 2006. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California School of Law. He fills the vacancy of a new position created on September 24, 2019. Davis is a Democrat.  

Julie G. Yap, 39, of Sacramento, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Sacramento County Superior Court. Yap has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California since 2019. She was a partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP from 2016 to 2019, where she was an associate from 2012 to 2016. Yap was an adjunct professor at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law from 2007 to 2018. She served as a U.S. Supreme Court fellow in the Administrative Office of the United States Courts from 2011 to 2012. She served as a law clerk for the Honorable Frank C. Damrell, Jr. at the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California from 2005 to 2011. Yap earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Fordham University School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert M. Twiss. Yap is a Democrat.

San Bernardino County Superior Court

Shannon L. Faherty, 39, of Rancho Cucamonga, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the San Bernardino County Superior Court. Faherty has served as a commissioner at the San Bernardino County Superior Court since 2018. She served as a deputy district attorney at the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office from 2006 to 2018. Faherty earned a Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern Law School. She fills the vacancy of a new position created on September 24, 2019. Faherty is registered without party preference. 

San Mateo County Superior Court

Rachel E. Holt, 48, of Redwood City, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the San Mateo County Superior Court. Holt has served as a commissioner at the San Mateo County Superior Court since 2014. She was a partner at Carr Yeley and Associates from 2006 to 2014 and an attorney as a sole practitioner at the San Mateo County Private Defender Program from 2003 to 2014. Holt served as a deputy district attorney at the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office from 1998 to 2002. Holt earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on June 20, 2019. Holt is a Democrat.

Michael K. Wendler, 43, of Belmont, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the San Mateo County Superior Court. Wendler has served as a deputy district attorney at the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office since 2006. He has served in the U.S. Marine Corps since 1998 and is currently a Lieutenant Colonel. Wendler earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Marta S. Diaz. Wendler is a Democrat. 

Santa Clara County Superior Court

Brooke A. Blecher, 47, of San Jose, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Blecher has served as a commissioner at the Santa Clara County Superior Court since 2018. She was an attorney and owner at Blecher and Hubbell from 2008 to 2018. Blecher was an attorney at Madden and Redding from 2004 to 2008 and at OlimpiaWhelan, Lively, and Ryan from 2000 to 2004. Blecher earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arizona College of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Patrick Tondreau. Blecher is a Democrat. 

Yolo County Superior Court

Daniel M. Wolk, 42, of Davis, has been appointed to serve as a judge in the Yolo County Superior Court. Wolk has served as a deputy county counsel in the Office of the Solano County Counsel since 2009. He was an associate attorney at McDonough, Holland & Allen P.C. from 2005 to 2008 and was founder and director of the Legal Clinic of Yolo County from 2006 to 2008. Wolk earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Janet GaardWolk is a Democrat. 

The compensation for each of these positions is $214,601.

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