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Gov. Gavin Newsom nominated Deputy Public Defender Valerie Navarro and trial attorney Manuel Bustamante Jr., March 25 to serve on Riverside Superior Court.

Navarro was a trial lawyer at the highest level in her office, said Riverside Public Defender Steven Harmon.

“She’s done everything in the public defender’s office, and she’s done it all well, and she’s going to be an amazing judge,” Harmon said by phone Tuesday.

Navarro joined the Riverside Public Defender’s Office in 2007, and previously worked as a paralegal at Community Legal Aid SoCal, according to the nomination announcement. She joined the bar in June 2007, after receiving her Juris Doctor from the Western State University, College of Law. She leads the office’s law clerk program, Harmon said.

Bustamante has worked as a trial attorney at the Walter Clark Legal Group since 2019, and previously worked at the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office from 2006 to 2019. He has been an adjunct professor at California State University, San Bernardino, since 2009, and earned his Juris Doctor from Pepperdine School of Law, according to the nomination announcement.

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