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Brown names DiFi’s daughter to state Med Board

Katherine Feinstein – a former San Francisco County Superior Court judge, and daughter of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein – was appointed Wednesday to the Medical Board of California by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Katherine FeinsteinFeinstein, 58, of Kentfield, served in several positions within San Francisco’s courts from 2000 to 2013, including presiding judge, assistant presiding judge, supervising judge for the Unified Family Court, and trial judge for the criminal, civil, family law and juvenile delinquency divisions.

She was supervising attorney for family and children’s services at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office from 1998 to 2000; director at the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice from 1994 to 1996; an attorney in private practice from 1991 to 1994; and an associate at Carroll, Burdick and McDonough LLP in 1989. She also worked as a San Francisco assistant district attorney from 1985 to 1988.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Feinstein earned her law degree from the UC Hastings College of the Law. She is a Democrat.

The Medical Board of California licenses and regulates physicians and surgeons and enforces the state’s Medical Practice Act. Members are appointed by the governor but must be confirmed by the state Senate, and while serving receive a $100 per diem.

Upon announcing her retirement in 2012, Feinstein had told the San Francisco Chronicle that she would do something in public service, which could range from helping set up effective judicial systems in Africa to running for office

“Of course I’ve thought about politics. I was born thinking about politics,” she said at the time. “It’s something I’ve always shied away from. Whether I continue to shy away from it would depend on the position at this point.”

But in 2014, when asked by NBC Bay Area if she would ever consider running for office, she reaffirmed her decision to remain a private citizen. “I don’t think campaigns always bring out the best in people.”

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Brown’s judicial shuffle might enable House run

In a somewhat unusual move, Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed a Bay Area judge – who has a familiar name – to another county’s bench, perhaps in order to help facilitate her husband’s planned run for Congress.

Carrie McIntyre PanettaCarrie McIntyre Panetta, appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court bench in 2007 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was named to the Monterey County Superior Court bench Thursday by Brown.

Panetta, 46, is the daughter-in-law of former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA director Leon Panetta; her husband, James Panetta, is a deputy district attorney who moved from Alameda County to Monterey County in 2010.

James Panetta – a former Navy Reserve intelligence officer who was awarded the Bronze Star for his 2007-08 deployment to Afghanistan – earlier this year said he’s interested in succeeding Rep. Sam Farr, D-Santa Cruz, in representing California’s 20th Congressional District.

Carrie Panetta was an Alameda County deputy district attorney from 1999 to 2007 and an associate at Brobeck Phleger and Harrison LLP from 1992 to 1999. A Democrat, she holds a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Monterey County Superior Court Judge Terrance Duncan. A superior court judge’s annual salary is $178,789.

UPDATE @ 3:02 P.M.: Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said he would leave it to Judget Panetta to explain the move, and acknowledged it’s not common for a judge to be re-appointed from one county’s superior court to another’s. A voice-mail message left at Panetta’s courtroom in Oakland has not yet been returned.

UPDATE @ 10:35 A.M. FRIDAY: “We’re excited, very excited about the appointment and the move,” Judge Panetta said Friday morning, noting her husband has been working in the Monterey County District Attorney’s office since 2010. “It was really to get the family back together full-time … we had decided we want to make the Monterey peninsula our home, raise our girls there.”

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Obama nominates judge with Bay Area roots

A Sacramento County Superior Court judge who was raised and worked in the Bay Area was nominated to the federal bench today by President Barack Obama.

Troy NunleyTroy Nunley, 48, has served on the Sacramento bench since his 2002 appointment by Gov. Gray Davis; before that he had been a state deputy attorney general since 1999. Earlier, Nunley was an Alameda County deputy district attorney from 1991 to 1994; a sole practitioner from 1994 to 1996; and a Sacramento County deputy district attorney from 1996 to 1999.

He earned a law degree in 1990 from the University of California Hastings College of the Law and a bachelor’s degree in 1986 from St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga. He’s a 1982 graduate of San Francisco’s Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory School; a 2002 article in Sacramento Lawyer says he and his three siblings were raised by their mother in public housing projects in San Francisco.

The president nominated Nunley to the U.S. District Court for California’s Eastern District, which includes 34 counties in eastern and central California from Los Angeles County’s northern edge to the Oregon border.

The nomination is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Federal judges are appointed for life, and currently earn a $174,000 annual salary.

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Adios, Blago: Ex-Illinois governor gets 14 years

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was sentenced today to 14 years in federal prison after his convictions on 18 felony corruption counts including his 2008 effort to illegally trade an appointment to Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat for campaign money or other benefits.

Blagojevich was also sentenced for shaking down the chief executive of a children’s hospital for $25,000 in campaign contributions in exchange for implementing an increase to pediatric reimbursement rates; holding up the signing of a bill to benefit the Illinois horse racing industry in an attempt to illegally obtain $100,000 in campaign contributions; and lying to the FBI in 2005.

The government wanted the judge to give Blagojevich 15 to 20 years behind bars, but the judge went a little lower after finding the ex-governor accepted responsibility for his crimes. (He did? Maybe he should update his website.) Blagojevich, who’ll turn 55 on Saturday, is scheduled to start serving his sentence Feb. 16.

My favorite line from the federal prosecutors’ news release: “The prison term is the longest-ever imposed on a former governor in the Northern District of Illinois.”

Because they’re in the habit of nailing the state’s former governors, y’know. George Ryan got six-and-a-half years in his corruption case; he’s scheduled to get out of the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., on July 4, 2013. (How patriotic!)

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Judge named for Jared Lee Loughner’s trial

The same San Diego-based federal judge who presided over the corruption trial of former Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham will handle the prosecution of Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of killing six and wounding more than a dozen including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday in Tucson, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced today.

Larry BurnsAll federal judges in Arizona had recused themselves from the case, as Chief District Judge John Roll as among the slain. U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns of California’s Southern District was appointed this afternoon by 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski.

Burns, 56, was nominated to the bench in May 2003 by President George W. Bush and was unanimously confirmed that September by the U.S. Senate. Besides the Cunningham case, other high-profile cases over which he as presided include the prosecution and sentencing of Javier Arellano-Felix, head of the Arellano-Felix drug cartel, on murder, drug trafficking and racketeering charges; and a challenge to the presence of a Latin cross on Mount Soledad in La Jolla.

Earlier, Burns was a U.S. Magistrate Judge in San Diego for six years; an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California from 1985 through 1997; and a San Diego County Deputy District Attorney from 1979 through 1985. As a prosecutor, he tried approximately 200 cases to jury verdicts and argued more than 40 cases before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He also taught college, graduate school and law school courses for many years before going on the bench, and in 1996 was recognized by San Diego State University with the University’s Faculty Mentoring Award. He earned an undergraduate degree in 1976 from Point Loma College (now Point Lorna Nazarene University) and a law degree in 1979 from the University of San Diego School of Law.

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New candidate, old trick

Alameda County Superior Court candidate Louis Goodman’s website, as well as his direct-mail piece that’s hitting mailboxes all over the county, offer up the following quotes:

  • “We endorse Louis Goodman for Alameda County Superior Court Judge.” – Oakland Tribune
  • “Goodman’s experience as a volunteer judge [Judge Pro-tem] in the Alameda County court system – along with his experience as a criminal defense attorney and former district attorney – make him the best choice for the job.” – The Fremont Argus
  • “We are impressed with Goodman’s grasp of court procedure and what it takes to keep a calendar moving.” – The Hayward Daily Review
  • “Unlike his opponents, Goodman has actual experience…” – Tri-Valley Herald
  • “We recommend Louis Goodman for judge – Voters in Alameda County will be electing a new judge to the Superior Court in the June 8 election.” – Alameda Times-Star
  • It sounds like quite a cavalcade of media endorsements, until you realize that all these quotes came from the same endorsement editorial which was published in all of the papers, all of which are part of the Bay Area News Group – East Bay. What Goodman made to look like five endorsements is actually just one.

    He’s certainly not the first to pull this stunt; I wrote about Wilma Chan doing the same thing two years ago as she ran in a Democratic state Senate primary. It still smells pretty funny, though.