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Governor Elevates Fresno Public Defender to Superior Court Judge



Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed David Munoz as a new Fresno County judge. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed his 12th judge to the Fresno County Superior Court bench.

Last Friday, Newsom elevated David Munoz, who has been the chief deputy public defender in the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office, to a judgeship.

Munoz, a 42-year-old Democrat from Dinuba, has worked at the public defender’s office since 2007, before his 2019 promotion. He earned a Juris Doctorate from what was then called Hastings College of Law (now known as UC Law SF).

Since becoming governor in 2019, Newsom has appointed 12 of the current 47 judicial positions on the Fresno bench. There are at least three more vacancies, to fill the retirements this year of Rosemary McGuire, Jon Kapetan, and Timothy Kams.

Timothy Kams

Kams, who was appointed to the bench in 1998 by then-Gov. Pete Wilson, served less than four months of his most recent term. He won his fifth full term in 2022, not appearing on the ballot because no one ran against him. He officially retired on May 1.

Newsom appointed Munoz to a new position created last year. The governor had until Oct. 30 to make the appointment, or risk the seat being filled in an open election by the voters.

Munoz faces re-election on March 5, 2024. Judges earn a base salary of $231,174.

Hurtado Amends Financial Form

When then-Kingsburg councilwoman Jewel Hurtado earned a scholarship from the California Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation in July 2021, I half-joked that she would need to report that on her income disclosure form. Because she received an item of value, campaign finance laws required her to report the scholarship.

Apparently, she did not. After an inquiry to the Kingsburg city clerk, Politics 101 is told Hurtado is filing an amended version of her Form 700.

Hurtado declined to run for re-election in 2022, surviving a recall attempt and a DUI arrest. She has since moved to Fresno.

Jewel Hurtado, left, poses with Assemblyman Joaquin Aramubla in 2021 after earning a scholarship. (GV Wire/David Taub)

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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