Kelli Evans has been an Alameda County Superior Court judge just since last year. She previously was Newsom’s chief deputy legal affairs secretary, where his office said she helped him shape a moratorium on capital punishment that Newsom issued in 2019.
The announcement by Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye will give Newsom his third opportunity to appoint a justice to the seven-member high court, and his first to pick a new chief justice.
The California Supreme Court unanimously rejected the contention that there were errors in the trial of Santiago Pineda, who is behind bars at San Quentin State Prison.
Patricia Guerrero, a daughter of immigrants, would become the high court’s first Latina—significant in a state court system where Latinos are underrepresented.
Frank Christopher Gonzalez, now 41, was sentenced to death in May 2008, less than a month after being convicted of the first-degree murder and attempted robbery of Maria Rosa, who was gunned down about 6 a.m. on March 28, 2006.
The California Supreme Court refused to hear the case of a Long Beach man convicted of gunning down the mother of his three children in her Bellflower apartment.
Ngounsay Keo—who is serving a 19-year-to-life state prison sentence—was convicted in November 2017 of second-degree murder.
“The evidence was that both defendants took an active role in the commission of the murders,” the presiding justice wrote in the decision.
A Los Angeles jury found Samuel Alexander Vasquez guilty last year of three counts of forcible rape, two counts of kidnapping and one count each of forcible oral copulation and assault with a deadly weapon.
The victim’s body was found inside an SUV that had been set on fire in Rancho Palos Verdes more than six years ago.