The local legal community Thursday praised the appointment of Monterey County Superior Court Judge Adrienne Grover to the 6th District Court of Appeal.
Gov. Jerry Brown announced his selection Thursday morning. Grover, a Democrat, will carry on Monterey County's presence on the San Jose-based appellate bench, replacing Justice Wendy Clark Duffy, who retired in October.
"It's a real honor and I am looking forward to the new challenges and working with new colleagues," Grover said. "But I will never forget the hard work of trial judges."
Her appointment, which requires confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, would leave two positions vacant on the local bench.
"This will be a tremendous loss for our bench and a great asset to the court of appeal," said Monterey County Bar Association President Juliet Peck. Grover "has a reputation for her thoughtfulness, her great aptitude for the law and her integrity, and that has certainly been my own experience appearing before her."
"She's one of the brightest judicial minds I have ever encountered and yet she wears her intelligence very well," said Monterey County Public Defender Jim Egar. "She has proven to be even-handed and very mindful of the ethics that go with the judicial office."
And, he added, "She has a great sense of humor."
Grover, 50, of Carmel, has served two temporary assignments to the appellate bench since last year.
"But I will miss the trial court very much," she said. "I will miss the direct connection you have on a daily basis with individuals in the courts, whether litigants or attorneys.
"And I will really miss the real demonstrations of humanity that you see in the trial court on occasion."
Appointed to the Monterey County bench in 2002, Grover previously served as county counsel and deputy county counsel. She earned her juris doctorate degree from Santa Clara University School of Law and her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley. The appointment will bump her from $178,789 annually to $204,599.
Cathal Conneely, spokesman for the Commission on Judicial Appointments, said Grover's confirmation hearing will be at 9:45 a.m. Dec. 20 in the California Supreme Court, 350 McCallister St., San Francisco. The sitting panel will be Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris and 6th District Administrative Presiding Justice Conrad Rushing.
Members of the public have until 5 p.m. Dec. 13 to submit comments on her appointment to the commission. Individuals may also ask to speak at the hearing. Comments or requests can be sent to the Secretary of the Commission on Judicial Appointments, c/o Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California, 350 McAllister St., San Francisco, 94102.
Grover would be the fourth Monterey County judge to join the 6th District Court of Appeal since it was founded in 1984. The first was Justice Nat Agliano, who was followed by William Wunderlich and then Duffy.
The court hears appeals from criminal and civil cases in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Santa Clara counties.
Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo and Presiding Judge Timothy Roberts said they were very happy for Grover.
"We are going to miss her," Roberts said, "but we also have great confidence that she will be a wonderful addition to the 6th District."
Flippo said he is confident Roberts will use visiting judges to keep the overloaded courts functioning while the governor considers the two local vacancies. Brown has yet to replace Judge Terrance Duncan, who retired in 2011.
Flippo said he has heard that appointment has been narrowed to a short list.
Grover is expecting no break between her old and new assignments. She is presiding over a high-profile gang murder trial for which jury selection began this week. She said prospective jurors have been told the trial may last through the month and she has already arranged to delay her start at the 6th District until she completes the proceeding.
Virginia Hennessey can be reached at 753-6751 or email@example.com.