SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the appointment of Luis Céspedes as Judicial Appointments Secretary in the Office of the Governor. Céspedes fills the position vacated by Justice Martin Jenkins, who was sworn in by Governor Newsom to the California Supreme Court earlier this month.
“Luis Céspedes has championed the cause of civil rights, equal justice, diversity and inclusion throughout his storied legal career,” said Governor Newsom. “From his days as a 15-year-old going on strike with the United Farm Workers alongside César Chávez, to his time as a Capitol staffer and decades as a lawyer, Luis’ resilience and compassion have touched countless lives and earned the respect of countless others. I am proud to have him join our team and look forward to his counsel as we continue to build a bench that reflects the rich diversity of California.”
Luis Céspedes, 68, of Carmichael, has been an Attorney at Law for the Law Offices of Luis A. Céspedes since 1982. He was a Partner at Céspedes, Namba & Nakagawa from 1992 to 1994 and Principal Consultant for the California State Assembly Committee on Health from 1980 to 1982. Céspedes was Administrative Assistant to State Assemblymember Vic Fazio from 1975 to 1977, Senior Consultant for the California State Assembly Office of Majority Consultants in 1975 and a Law Clerk and Case Analyst at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1971 to 1974. He is a member of the Sacramento County Bar Association, the Schwartz Levi American Inn of Court, the Emerging Latino Leadership Foundation and the Cruz Reynoso Bar Association. In 2018, Céspedes was named “Distinguished Attorney of the Year” by the Sacramento County Bar Association. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and a Master of Arts degree in urban studies from Occidental College. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $207,000. Céspedes is a Democrat.
Community Leaders React:
Attorney General Xavier Becerra: “Governor Newsom nailed this one. Luis Céspedes is the best person to serve California as the Governor’s Judicial Appointments Secretary. Luis has dedicated his life to advancing justice, diversity and inclusion. His commitment is more than just a motto. From going on strike alongside César Chávez to selflessly lifting others to higher office, Luis has walked the walk. Luis Céspedes’ input and counsel will be invaluable assets as Governor Newsom seeks out California’s finest to serve in our most consequential posts in government.”
Labor Leader Dolores Huerta: “I met Luis in the 1970s and during my many visits to Sacramento since, I knew I could rely upon Luis’ help in my efforts to increase protections for farmworkers and their families, ensuring farmworkers’ right to vote for a union of their choice and in support of UFW’s right to organize. I have no doubt that Luis’ appointment as the Judicial Appointments Secretary will ensure the election and appointment of judicial officers who are sympathetic to our causes and who understand the challenges of our community.”
California Supreme Court Justice Martin Jenkins: “Luis embodies the best of the California spirit. As a bridge builder he has worked throughout his career to make our justice system more just, bringing in people who reflect the rich diversity of the communities who seek justice in our courts. I know he will serve the Governor and the State of California well in this role.”
President of the Asian/Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento Priscilla M. Parker: “The Asian/Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento was founded in 1981, and is part of the Unity Bar Association of Sacramento, which was co-founded by Luis Céspedes in 1987. At the time, Mr. Céspedes was the president of the former La Raza Lawyer’s Association. He reached out to other minority bar leaders to help establish the Unity Bar to help educate the public on the importance of our judiciary in an era of significant divisiveness and conflict. Mr. Céspedes continues to be a pillar to our community and actively involved with the Unity Bar. He is an excellent choice to serve as Judicial Appointments Secretary.”
Presiding Judge of the Sacramento County Superior Court Russell L. Hom: “The legal profession and the community will celebrate the appointment of Luis Céspedes as the Governor’s Judicial Appointments Secretary. Mr. Céspedes’ career is the model of professionalism and he has demonstrated a consistent commitment to diversity and inclusion. He is someone who has a deep sense of community and over his long legal career, has worked to improve the legal profession and the judiciary. He will serve Governor Newsom and the People of the State of California with great distinction.”
Former Presiding Judge of the Sacramento County Superior Court David De Alba: “Luis is the consummate professional. He treats all with patience, respect and dignity. His many contributions to the legal, policy and political well-being of the community have been selfless and courageous. He will serve the Governor well.”