Governor Elevates Fresno Public Defender to Superior Court Judge
Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed his 12th judge to the Fresno County Superior Court bench.
Last Friday, Newsom elevated David Munoz, who has been the chief deputy public defender in the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office, to a judgeship.
Munoz, a 42-year-old Democrat from Dinuba, has worked at the public defender’s office since 2007, before his 2019 promotion. He earned a Juris Doctorate from what was then called Hastings College of Law (now known as UC Law SF).
Since becoming governor in 2019, Newsom has appointed 12 of the current 47 judicial positions on the Fresno bench. There are at least three more vacancies, to fill the retirements this year of Rosemary McGuire, Jon Kapetan, and Timothy Kams.
Kams, who was appointed to the bench in 1998 by then-Gov. Pete Wilson, served less than four months of his most recent term. He won his fifth full term in 2022, not appearing on the ballot because no one ran against him. He officially retired on May 1.
Newsom appointed Munoz to a new position created last year. The governor had until Oct. 30 to make the appointment, or risk the seat being filled in an open election by the voters.
Munoz faces re-election on March 5, 2024. Judges earn a base salary of $231,174.
Related Story: Biden Nominates Fresno Judge for Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Hurtado Amends Financial Form
When then-Kingsburg councilwoman Jewel Hurtado earned a scholarship from the California Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation in July 2021, I half-joked that she would need to report that on her income disclosure form. Because she received an item of value, campaign finance laws required her to report the scholarship.
Apparently, she did not. After an inquiry to the Kingsburg city clerk, Politics 101 is told Hurtado is filing an amended version of her Form 700.
Hurtado declined to run for re-election in 2022, surviving a recall attempt and a DUI arrest. She has since moved to Fresno.