Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Edward Davila was nominated by President Obama Thursday for a post on the U.S. District Court for Northern California.
Davila, 57, has been a Superior Court judge since 2001. He was previously in private practice from 1988 to 2001 and a deputy Santa Clara County public defender from 1981 to 1988.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Davila would be the only Hispanic judge on the Northern California federal court, which is based in San Francisco and has branches in San Jose and Oakland.
Davila was recommended for the post by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who said, "Judge Davila's extensive legal career and his deep community involvement will make him an asset to the federal bench."
Davila was president of the Santa Clara County Bar Association in 1998 and served two terms as president of the La Raza Lawyers Association of Santa Clara County.
He will take the place of U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel of San Francisco, who moved to senior, or semi-retired, status last fall.
Boxer spokeswoman Kate Folmar said that if the Senate confirms Davila, it will be up to Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to decide in which federal courthouse he will serve.
Davila received his B.A. in 1976 from California State University, San Diego, and his law degree in 1979 from the University of California's Hastings College of the Law.
As a Superior Court judge, Davila presided over the case of Anna Ayala of Las Vegas, who pleaded guilty to charges related to planting a human finger in a bowl of chili at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose in 2005.
Davila sentenced Ayala to nine years in prison, which was nearly the maximum, while saying that "greed and avarice overtook" Ayala and her husband and "they lost their moral compass."
The sentence was later reduced to seven years as result of a state appeals court ruling and Ayala was released after four years with credit for good behavior.
The last Hispanic judge to serve on the Northern California federal court was U.S. District Judge Robert Aguilar, who resigned in 1996 in exchange for the Justice Department's dropping of a charge that he illegally disclosed wiretap information.
The Northern District of California includes the Bay Area and
coastal California from Monterey County to the Oregon border.