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Gov. Newsom Appoints Judges for Fresno, Merced Counties
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 weeks ago on
May 3, 2024

Raj Singh Badhesha is moving from the Fresno City Attorney's office to Fresno County Superior Court. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

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Raj Singh Badhesha, a lawyer with the Fresno City Attorney’s office, is trading the dais for the bench.

Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Badhesha, a 40-year-old Democrat from Selma, to a Fresno County Superior Court judgeship on Friday. The governor appoints judges to fill vacancies in most circumstances. This is Newsom’s 14th appointment in the county.

“I would like to thank Governor Gavin Newsom for having confidence in my ability to serve as a Fresno County Superior Court judge,” Badhesha told GV Wire. “After years of dedicated service to the Fresno community, including invaluable experience in the Fresno City Attorney’s Office and extensive volunteer work, I am honored to be appointed as a Fresno Superior Court Judge.

“My commitment to justice, coupled with my understanding of the legal system and the needs of our community, have prepared me to serve with integrity, fairness, and compassion.
I am glad to be able to represent a segment of our community that we don’t often see on the bench and I appreciate the Governor’s commitment to diversity.”

Janz Praises the New Judge 

His soon-to-be former boss had high praise for Badhesha.

“Raj has been an instrumental part of my management team because of his broad-based knowledge of various aspects of the law and his ability to deal with sensitive situations with tact and poise,” City Attorney Andrew Janz said. “When I was appointed City Attorney, he quickly became my closest adviser and made my transition into this position seamless,” Janz said.

Badhesha is often seen on the dais, advising the city council and other boards during meetings.

“Raj has all the qualities one hopes to find in a judge; he is open-minded, thoughtful, deliberate, well-researched, and diplomatic. While his broad legal experience and expertise are going to be a big loss to the City of Fresno, there is not a more fitting individual to serve Fresno County and the State of California with honesty and integrity,” Janz said.

With City Since 2012

The Fresno State grad was promoted to chief assistant city attorney in 2022. After earning his Juris Doctor from Hastings Law School (now known as UC College of Law, San Francisco), Badhesha clerked at the Fifth District Court of Appeal. He practiced at the private firm Baker Manock & Jensen, from 2008 to 2012.

Badhesha replaces Jon Kapetan, who retired last year. He faces election in 2026.

With the appointment, Fresno County now has 46 of its 47 bench seats filled. Newsom still needs to replace Timothy Kams, who retired last year.

Merced County Judicial Appointment

New Merced County Superior Court Judge Mason Brawley

Also on Friday, Newsom appointed private practice attorney Mason Brawley to the Merced County bench. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David W. Moranda. Brawley is registered without party preference.

Newsom appointed 18 superior court judges on Friday. More information is at this link.

The annual salary for judges is $238,479.

 

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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