Governor Brown Appoints Six to Los Angeles County Superior Court


11-12-2014

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the appointment of Hector E. Gutierrez, Colin P. Leis, Lillian Vega Jacobs, Rob B. Villeza, Shirley K. Watkins and Michael E. Whitaker to judgeships in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Gutierrez, 40, of Whittier, has served as a deputy district attorney in the Hardcore Gang Division at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office since 2008, where he has served as a deputy district attorney since 2000. He served as a law clerk at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals from 1999 to 2000. Gutierrez earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. He fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on August 12, 2013. Gutierrez is a Democrat.

Leis, 53, of La Cañada, has served as senior judicial attorney at the Second District Court of Appeal since 1994. He was a litigation associate at O'Melveny and Myers LLP from 1989 to 1994. Leis earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University. He fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on August 12, 2013. Leis is a Democrat.

Vega Jacobs, 48, of Fullerton, has been senior partner at Jacobs and Vega PLC since 2005 and an attorney at the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program since 2006. She served as a deputy district attorney at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office from 1999 to 2005. Vega Jacobs earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on August 12, 2013. Vega Jacobs is a Democrat.

Villeza, 52, of Monrovia, has served as deputy chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Section at the U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California since 2001, where he has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney since 1991. He was a litigation associate at Graham and James LLP from 1989 to 1991 and at Cades Schutte LLP from 1987 to 1989. Villeza earned a Juris Doctor degree at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Los Angeles. He fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on August 12, 2013. Villeza is a Democrat.

Watkins, 57, of Beverly Hills, has been a partner at Fraser, Watson and Croutch LLP and a mediator and arbitrator at Alternative Resolution Centers since 2014. She was senior litigator at the Law Offices of Michels and Watkins from 1997 to 2013 and senior partner at the Law Offices of Watkins and Stevens from 1991 to 1997. She was an attorney at Matthew B.F. Biren from 1988 to 1991, at Gantz and Forer from 1985 to 1988 and at Sheldon Deutsch from 1982 to 1985. Watkins earned a Juris Doctor degree from the California Western School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Cynthia Rayvis. Watkins is a Democrat.

Whitaker, 47, of Culver City has served as supervising deputy attorney general at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General since 2006, where he served as a deputy attorney general from 1998 to 2006. He was an associate at the Law Offices of Richard S. Kim from 1997 to 1998, a staff attorney at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from 1993 to 1996 and an associate at Bronson, Bronson and McKinnon from 1991 to 1992. Whitaker was a member of the Culver City Civil Service Commission from 2006 to 2014. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oregon School of Law, where he was a managing editor of the Oregon Law Review from 1989 to 1991, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on August 12, 2013. Whitaker is registered without party preference.

The compensation for each of these positions is $184, 610.

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