Fresno State alumnus Rosendo Peña, Jr. was sworn-in as a Fresno County Superior Court Judge on Friday (Dec. 13).
Peña, 47, graduated with a bachelor of arts in political science in 1977 before graduating from UCLA School of Law in 1980.
While at Fresno State, he was a member of Pi Gamma Mu, the College of Social Sciences honor society. He was a participant in the first Chicano Commencement Celebration in 1977.
As a Fresno State student, Pena was a co-founder of the Chicanos in Law student organization, a dancer for Los Danzantes de Aztlán, a member of the Comparsa singing group and MEChA, and performed volunteer work with the United Farm Workers union.
His professional career has included serving as a deputy attorney for the California State Public Defenders Office from 1981-83; deputy attorney general for the California Attorney General’s office from 1990-92; and an associate attorney in private practice with the Law Firm of Hernandez and Ramirez from 1992-94.
He was with the California 5th District Court of Appeals from 1984-90 and again in his most recent position as lead appellate court attorney from 1994 until his appointment to the Fresno County bench this year by Gov. Gray Davis. He is completing the term of retired Judge John Gallagher.
At a special session of the Fresno Superior Court held at the Casablanca Hall in Fresno and presided over by Superior Court Presiding Judge Gary Hoff, more than 100 family, friends and dignitaries witnessed Pena’s ceremonial searing in.
He had been formally sworn on Dec. 2 and has been serving the county’s Traffic Court. But Judge Best said Friday that Pena will take on a new experimental assignment of both civil and criminal trials in January.
Peña’s previous boss, State 5th District Appellate Justice Rebecca Wiseman, administered the oath of office while speeches were delivered by another former boss, Magistrate Hollis Best, and Pena’s sister, Frances Pena-Olgín.
Pena-Olgín is director of University Outreach Services at Fresno State and attended Fresno State at the same time as Judge Pena.