Judge Heather Jones
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Heather Mardel Jones, 41, of Fresno is Fresno County Superior Court’s newest judge, replacing the retiring Judge James M. Petrucelli effective today.
Jones, a commissioner at the Fresno County Superior Court since 2014, is part of a slate of a dozen judges appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown in one of his last acts as governor before he steps down Monday.
Jones served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the federal Eastern District of California from 2011 to 2014, and was an associate at Dowling, Aaron and Keeler Inc. from 2008 to 2011. Prior to that, Jones spent time as an assistant district attorney at the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s Office, a staff attorney at the Supreme Court of California, a research attorney at the Santa Clara County Superior Court and deputy legal affairs secretary in the office of former California Gov. Gray Davis.
Jones, Democrat, earned a law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Fresno State.
Petrucelli has proven a controversial figure, having been disciplined four times since first elected to the bench in 1998. He was censured by the Commission on Judicial Performance for a 2015 incident in which he ordered the jail to release a friend facing domestic violence allegations, reported GV Wire.
Petrucelli told GV Wire he is departing early from the bench because he had more faith in Gov. Brown making the appointment to his seat than the incoming governor, Gavin Newsom. Petrucelli, 69, added “he may want to get into radio to talk about his experience,” according to the GV Wire article.