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Judges and Judiciary

May 15, 2024

Commission on Judicial Appointments confirms 3 justices to courts of appeal

They are Justice Gonzalo C. Martinez, Judge Natalie P. Stone and Judge Tara Desautels.

Presiding Justice Gonzalo C. Martinez

The Commission on Judicial Appointments on Tuesday confirmed Justice Gonzalo C. Martinez as presiding justice of the 2nd District Court of Appeal, Division 7; Los Angeles County Judge Natalie P. Stone as an associate justice of the 2nd District, Division 7; and Alameda County Judge Tara Desautels as an associate justice of the 1st District, Division 2.

The commission for the confirmations of Martinez and Stone was comprised of California Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero, Attorney General Rob Bonta, and 2nd District Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert. The composition of the commission for Desautels' confirmation was Guerrero, Bonta and 1st District Presiding Justice Jim Humes.

Judge Tara Desautels

"I just wanted to express my gratitude for your family being here, and I think of how integral they are to who you are as a person and how that bond has shaped you throughout your life," Guerrero told Martinez. "I look forward to what the future holds for you. The written submissions that we have not only convey your incredible intellect, but they convey who you are as a person, and several of the people who have commented have informed us that you empathize with people and understand people."

Martinez will replace Presiding Justice Dennis M. Perluss, who retired. He was nominated as an associate justice on the 2nd District in March 2023 by Gov. Gavin Newsom and confirmed on July 10. He previously served as deputy judicial appointments secretary in Newsom's office, where he advised the governor on the selection of almost 400 jurist nominations across California. He also served as deputy solicitor general of California.

Judge Natalie P. Stone

In private practice Martinez was a partner in the appellate and U.S. Supreme Court practice at Squire Patton Boggs (U.S.) LLP. He also worked at Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP and Morrison & Foerster LLP.

"I want to thank the organizations and individuals who submitted letters of support on my behalf from across the state and in particular, Administrative Presiding Justice Elwood Lui," Martinez said. "All the presiding justices of the 2nd District Court of Appeal have been incredibly welcoming, as have all the justices from the other divisions and I look forward to continuing to work with all of you."

Stone has been a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge since 2015. Before that, she served for five years as a 2nd District appellate judicial attorney and as an associate at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP. She was a law clerk for Senior 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge A. Wallace Tashima. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Martinez to presiding justice.

Desautels has been an Alameda County Superior Court judge since 2010. Before that she was a deputy district attorney in Alameda County and in private practice at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. She told the commission that she first got a taste for the courtroom when she played the lead prosecutor in her junior high school's reenactment of the historic Haymarket trial, during which eight anarchist labor leaders were convicted, despite a lack of evidence, of murdering police officers during an 1886 riot in Chicago.

Bonta asked Desautels what advise her grandfather, an appellate attorney, and her great-uncle, a Jesuit priest who was interned in a Chinese internment camp during World War II, would offer her now.

"My great uncle, who was one of the most loving, caring, compassionate people I have ever known, you referenced his internment in the Chinese war camp, he did not come away from that experience with any kind of resentment or hard feelings," she said. "He viewed it as an example of the work that he had been doing to bring freedom, free speech and education to underprivileged communities as the right path. Similarly, my grandfather was known by all of his grandchildren for teaching us anytime we were having any kind of a challenge, be patient, be strong and you can work through it."


Douglas Saunders Sr.

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