Governor Brown Appoints Eight to Los Angeles County Superior Court


5-18-2012

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the appointments of Debra A. Cole, Halim Dhanidina, Peter A. Hernandez, Bruce G. Iwasaki, H. Clay Jacke II, Virginia Keeny, David B. Walgren and Jeffrey K. Winikow to judgeships in the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Debra A. Cole, 50, of Long Beach, has served in multiple positions in the Los Angeles County Alternative Public Defender’s Office since 1994, including head deputy, deputy in charge and trial deputy. Cole was a trial deputy in the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office from 1988 to 1994. She earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Andrew C. Kauffman. Cole is a Democrat.

Halim Dhanidina, 39, of Los Angeles, has served as a deputy district attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office since 1998. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College. He fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position. Dhanidina is a Democrat. According to the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Dhanidina will be the first American-Muslim judge ever appointed in California.

Peter A. Hernandez, 42, of Alhambra, has served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California since 1999. He was a litigation associate at Brobeck, Phleger and Harrison LLP from 1998 to 1999. Previously, Hernandez was a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1995 to 1998. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position. Hernandez is a Democrat.

Bruce G. Iwasaki, 61, of Los Angeles, has been a partner at Lim Ruger and Kim LLP since 2006. He was executive director of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles from 1997 to 2006 and was an associate at O’Melveny and Myers LLP from 1988 to 1997. From 1980 to 1988, he served in muliple positions at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, including senior counsel and staff attorney. He was a staff attorney at San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Legal Services from 1976 to 1980. Iwasaki earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law 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. Iwasaki is a Democrat.

H. Clay Jacke II, 53, of Los Angeles, has been a sole criminal defense practitioner since 1983. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Southwestern Law School and a Bachelor of Science degree from Drake University. He fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position. Jacke is a Democrat.

Virginia Keeny, 50, of Los Angeles, has been a partner at Hadsell Stormer Keeny Richardson and Renick LLP since 2008. She was a partner at Hadsell and Stormer Inc. from 1993 to 2007 and a senior trial attorney in the Los Angeles District Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1991 to 1993. Keeny was a public interest fellow at Litt and Stormer from 1989 to 1991. From 1988 to 1989, she served as a law clerk for Judge William A. Norris in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Keeny earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Stanford Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University. She fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position. Keeny is a Democrat.

David B. Walgren, 43, of Calabasas, has served as a deputy district attorney in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office since 1996. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law 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. Walgren is a Democrat.

Jeffrey K. Winikow, 47, of Los Angeles, has been a sole practitioner since 1992. Previously, he was an associate attorney at Mitchell Silberberg and Knupp LLP from 1989 to 1992. Winikow earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Chicago Law School and a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William J. Birney Jr. Winikow is a Democrat.

The compensation for each position is $178,789.

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