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Governor appoints new judge for Sonoma County Superior Court

Karlene M. Navarro, 45, of Petaluma, has been appointed by Governor Newsom to serve as a judge in the Sonoma County Superior Court. Navarro fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Allan Hardcastle.

Navarro has served as Director of the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO) for the County of Sonoma since 2019. IOLERO was created in 2016 in the wake of the death of middle-schooler Andy Lopez to provide oversight for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, and promote greater transparency of county law enforcement.

There are 58 California superior courts, 1 in each county. With 20 Judges and 5 Commissioners serving the county, Sonoma Superior Court provides trial jurisdiction over all felony, misdemeanor and traffic cases and all general civil cases. Superior court judges are elected by voters of the county on a non-partisan ballot at a general election. Vacancies are filled by appointment of the Governor.

Navarro was a local defense attorney from 2014 to 2019, serving as an appellate attorney for the Sixth District Appellate Program and the First District Appellate Project from 2016 to 2019 and as an attorney for the Sonoma County Conflicts Panel. She was a professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law in 2018.

She served as a deputy public defender at the Solano County Public Defender’s Office from 2010 to 2013, at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office from 2009 to 2010 and at the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office from 2007 to 2009. Navarro earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Navarro’s new position position pays $223,829 annually.

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