SACRAMENTO — Gov. George Deukmejian on Monday appointed a longtime political aide with no judicial experience to the state Court of Appeal, the first time he has appointed someone to the appellate court who has never sat on the bench.
The aide, Marvin R. Baxter, 48, is a former Fresno attorney and prosecutor who has served as Deukmejian's appointments secretary since 1983. Baxter's appointment to the $97,003-a-year post on Fresno's 5th District Court of Appeal requires confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Qualifications.
Other Governors Did It
While it is the first time Deukmejian has ever appointed someone to the appellate court who has never had judicial experience, former Governors Ronald Reagan and Edmund G. Brown Jr. did it a number of times, according to a spokesman for Deukmejian.
Press secretary Kevin Brett said Reagan appointed six attorneys who had no judicial experience directly to the appellate level and Brown did it on 11 occasions.
Brown's most famous judicial appointment is former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird, who was appointed to the state's highest court with no previous experience on the bench. Brown also appointed his legal affairs secretary, J. Anthony Kline, to the bench with no judicial experience, but the former governor put Kline on the Superior Court before elevating him the Court of Appeal.
Brett said that although Baxter has no judicial experience, his job as appointments secretary has required him to evaluate and screen judicial appointments for Deukmejian. "For the last six years, he has been judging the judges," Brett said.
Was Deputy D.A.
Baxter was a Fresno County campaign organizer for Deukmejian in 1982 during the governor's first gubernatorial race. Before joining the Administration, he was a partner in a Fresno law firm. He was a Fresno County deputy district attorney in 1967 and 1968.
Deukmejian now has appointed 648 judges to the Supreme Court and to Municipal, Superior and Appellate courts.