Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday named Santa Clara County Counsel Miguel Marquez as the Sixth District Court of Appeal’s first Latino associate justice.
The governor also named Mary Greenwood, Santa Clara County’s chief public defender, and a federal prosecutor from Palo Alto, Allison Danner, to the Santa Clara County Superior Court bench.
Marquez, 45, of San Jose, has served as county counsel since 2009.
Ann Ravel, Marquez’ predecessor as county counsel and now chairwoman of the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission, called Marquez “a brilliant, thoughtful and compassionate lawyer who is devoted to public service” and will make an outstanding justice.
Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith praised the governor’s “brilliant choice” of “a great person and an excellent lawyer.”
Added Smith: “I’m very sad to see him go from the county because he’s done such a good job here, but I think he’ll do a great job for the state.”
Marquez’ tenure, however, hasn’t been free of hiccups. He had advised supervisors in 2010 that their decision to transfer most power over the county jails to the sheriff’s office didn’t require a public vote, even though it seemed to modify a 1988 charter amendment. After being sued over the matter, the board this year placed a measure on next month’s ballot seeking voters’ approval of the plan.
From 2006 to 2008, Marquez was general counsel, and previously assistant general counsel, for the San Francisco
Unified School District. He was a deputy city attorney in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office from 2004 to 2006 and deputy county counsel for San Mateo County from 1998 to 2000 and 2002 to 2004.
In between those county stints, he was an associate at Remcho Johansen and Purcell in San Leandro. And he was an associate at Palo Alto-based Cooley Godward from 1996 to 1998.
A Democrat, Marquez holds a law degree from UC Berkeley’s School of Law; a master’s in public policy from Harvard University; and a BA from Stanford University.
Subject to confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments — consisting of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Senior Presiding Justice Conrad Lee Rushing — Marquez will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Associate Justice Richard McAdams.
A California Court of Appeal associate justice earns an annual salary of $204,599.
Greenwood, a 55-year-old Menlo Park resident, said Friday she was “honored and excited” by the appointment.
She has headed the county public defender’s office since 2005 and is credited with energizing the office after years of uninspired management under her predecessor. She also successfully lobbied county supervisors to offer legal representation to anyone who can’t afford an attorney at their initial court appearance, ending an era in which the constitutional rights of criminal defendants were routinely jeopardized.
“Her exceptional service to indigent clients and her management of high quality staff has made me very proud of the work of the Office of the Public Defender,” said George Shirakawa, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. “Mary has the unique ability to communicate the law in a way that we can all understand and care about it. She is the ultimate professional in a system that can be, by its nature, very acrimonious.”
Greenwood was an assistant public defender and supervising attorney in the Santa Clara County Alternative Public Defender’s Office from 2002 to 2005; an attorney at Coblentz Patch Duffy and Bass in 2001; and a deputy public defender and assistant public defender from 1998 to 2001. Earlier, she was an associate attorney at San Jose’s Boccardo Law Firm in 1987 and a deputy public defender from 1982 to 1986. She holds a law degree from the UC Hastings College of the Law and a BA from Grinnell College. A Democrat, she fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Alfonso Fernandez.
Shirakawa said supervisors have a big job ahead in finding successors for Marquez and Greenwood. And Shirakawa said he’s “committed to an open, inclusive process.”
Danner, 41, of Palo Alto, has been an assistant U.S. attorney in the criminal division for the Northern District of California since 2007, although she took a leave to serve as an attorney-adviser at the Office of Legal Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice from 2009 to 2010.
Danner was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and UCLA’s School of Law in 2006, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School from 2001 to 2007 and a lecturer at Stanford Law School in 2000. She clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens from 1998 to 1999. She holds a law degree from Stanford Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Williams College. A Democrat, she fills the vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Edward Davila, Greenwood’s husband, to the U.S. District Court.
A Superior Court judge earns an annual salary of $178,789.