Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Rebecca Wiseman to retire as 5th District appellate justice

Rebecca Wiseman, a 5th District Court of Appeal justice since 1995, is retiring on Oct. 31, a move that will open up a seat on the 10-member court that will be filled by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Wiseman’s retirement is the second from the 5th District appellate court in as many years. In May 2012, Betty Dawson retired after almost nine years as a justice. Brown replaced her with Rosendo Peña.

Justice Rebecca Wiseman

Now comes another opening.

Wiseman, 60, is a judicial veteran, having served more than a quarter century as a judge at various levels.

She started in 1986 as Kern County Municipal Court judge. In 1991, she became a Kern County Superior Court judge, and in 1996, then-Gov. Pete Wilson appointed her to the 5th District Court of Appeal.

Before ascending to the bench, Wiseman worked two years in private practice and five years as a Kern County deputy district attorney.

She earned her undergraduate degree from Fresno State and her law degree from the University of California at Davis.

Wiseman’s replacement won’t come immediately, said Brad Hill, the 5th District Court’s presiding justice.

Hopefuls will submit their names to the Brown administration, which selects applications to send to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation for its opinion.

The favored nominee must then be confirmed by the three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments. That panel includes state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Attorney General Kamala Harris, and the presiding justice of the Court of Appeal district where the vacancy is being filled. In this case, that is Hill.

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