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News Release

Tuesday: Commission to Consider Appellate Court Appointments

Public hearings on May 17 will consider appointments of Justice Maria E. Stratton and Martin N. Buchanan to appellate courts in Los Angeles and San Diego.
Apr 8, 2022

Public documents are available for viewing here.

SAN FRANCISCO—The Commission on Judicial Appointments will hold public hearings May 17 starting at 11 a.m. in the Supreme Court Courtroom, 350 McAllister Street, 4th Floor, in San Francisco.

The commission will consider the following appointments by Gov. Gavin Newsom:

•  11 a.m.—Justice Maria E. Stratton, as Presiding Justice of the Second District Court of Appeal, Division Eight (Los Angeles)
•  11:45 a.m.—Martin N. Buchanan, as Associate Justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division One (San Diego)

The Commission members are:

•  Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye (Chair)
•  Attorney General Rob Bonta
•  Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert (for Justice Stratton's hearing) and Presiding Justice Manuel A. Ramirez (for Martin Buchanan's hearing).

Seating in the courtroom will be limited—with some overflow seating also available in the auditorium—and any mask requirements will be enforced as may be required by state and local health directives in effect at the time of the hearing. The hearings will be webcast live on the California Courts Newsroom.

The state Constitution specifies that a gubernatorial nomination or appointment to the Supreme Court or a Court of Appeal is “effective when confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments.”

The commission consists of the chief justice of California, the attorney general of California, and the presiding justice of the Court of Appeal of the affected district or, if there are two or more presiding justices, the one who has presided longest or, for a nomination or appointment to the Supreme Court, the presiding justice who has presided the longest on any Court of Appeal.

Appointee Biographies

Justice Maria Stratton would fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Tricia Ann Bigelow. She has served as an associate justice of the Second District Court of Appeal, Division Eight since 2018. Justice Stratton served as a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge from 2006 to 2018. She served as federal public defender for the Central District of California from 1993 to 2006 and held several positions at Talcott, Lightfoot, Vandevelde, Woehrle and Sadowsky from 1985 to 1993, including managing partner, partner and associate. She was an associate at Overland, Berke, Wesley, Gits, Randolph and Levanas from 1984 to 1985. Stratton served as a deputy federal public defender at the Office of the Federal Public Defender, Central District of California from 1981 to 1984 and as a law clerk for the Hon. Harry Pregerson at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1979 to 1981. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. 

Martin N. Buchanan would fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Patricia D. Benke. Buchanan has been a sole practitioner since 2010. He was a partner at Niddrie, Fish & Buchanan LLP from 2005 to 2010 and a sole practitioner from 2004 to 2005 and 1992 to 2003. Buchanan served as a research attorney at the Fourth District Court of Appeal from 2003 to 2004 and was a staff attorney at Appellate Defenders Inc. from 1990 to 1992. He was an Associate at Remcho, Johansen & Purcell from 1988 to 1990 and at Farnsworth, Saperstein & Seligman from 1987 to 1988. He served as a law clerk for the Honorable Robert F. Peckham at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California from 1986 to 1987. Buchanan earned a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.

Testimony and Comment


Persons who wish to testify or comment on the appointment must submit their information for receipt by the commission no later than 5 p.m. on May 10. Anyone wishing to testify before the commission must state that request in writing and include a summary of the facts on which any testimony or opinion will be based.

Submissions via email to coja@jud.ca.gov are strongly encouraged. Hard copies are not required.

If you would like to mail your request, you may also reach the commission at:

Commission on Judicial Appointments
c/o Chief Justice of California
Supreme Court of California
350 McAllister Street
San Francisco, California 94102
Attention: Secretary to the Commission

Guidelines for the Commission on Judicial Appointments are published in the appendix to the California Rules of Court and are posted on the California Courts website.

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