Governor Appoints Several Judges with Local Ties

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the appointment of a number of judges on Friday—18 overall.  While only one was appointed to Yolo County, several others had ties to the county.

Clara Levers by now is a familiar face to Yolo County.  In March she was elected to succeed Judge David Rosenberg.  She won overwhelmingly with more than 60 percent of the vote.

Clara Levers

But she was not scheduled to take office until January 2025.  However, Governor Newsom has appointed her to fill the remainder of Judge Rosenberg’s seat, allowing her to immediately assume the position.

Levers has served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General since 2008. She was an Associate at Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney from 2006 to 2008 and at the Law Offices of Johnny Griffin from 2003 to 2006. Levers earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law.

The local ties do not stop.  Governor Newsom also appointed Allison Zuvela to the Sacramento County Superior Court.

Allison Zuvela

Zuvela retired from the public defender’s office in Yolo County back in 2021, where she had served as Chief Deputy Public Defender for a number of years, the number two member of the office behind Tracie Olson.

She worked in Yolo’s public defender’s office since 2003 and had previously been a Deputy Public Defender in the Tulare County Public Defender’s Office from 1995 to 2003. Zuvela earned a Juris Doctor degree from California Western School of Law. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Sharon A. Lueras.

Finally, it was probably not intended irony, but in a week marked by student protests and police crackdowns, Governor Newsom named Michael Risher to  judge in the Alameda County Superior Court.

Michael Risher

Yolo County residents might remember Risher because he was lead counsel in the lawsuit against UC Davis as counsel for the ACLU of Northern California in the pepper spray case—a case that was ultimately settled for a sizable amount for the students who were pepper sprayed by the university.

Risher has been a sole practitioner and as counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California since 2018. He was a Senior Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California from 2013 to 2018 and a Staff Attorney there from 2006 to 2013.

He served as a Deputy Public Defender at the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office from 1998 to 2005.

Risher earned a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert McGuiness.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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