SLO Superior Court judge appointed to appellate court

Martin J. Tangeman
Martin J. Tangeman

San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Martin J. Tangeman was appointed Wednesday by the governor as an associate justice to California’s Second District Court of Appeal.

Tangeman, 62, of Cambria has been a San Luis Obispo Superior Court judge since 2001. He was appointed by then-Gov. Gray Davis after spending nearly 20 years as a private civil attorney.

The appointment is pending final approval by the California Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Senior Presiding Justice Paul Turner.

According to the Governor’s Office, Tangeman, a Democrat, earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a bachelor of arts degree from California State University, Fullerton.

A father of four, Tangeman has been involved in the Land Conservancy, the Festival Mozaic and the Chamber of Commerce, according to Tribune archives.

He has made news in recent years, ruling against a challenge to San Luis Obispo County’s smart-growth policies by the Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business in 2011and rejecting a challenge to the county’s emergency ban on new pumping from the Paso Robles groundwater basin earlier this year.

The Second District is one of the state’s six Courts of Appeal and presides over Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. It reviews Superior Court rulings and files about 5,000 appellate decisions a year.

It currently consists of 32 justices, and Tangeman will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Paul H. Coffee. The position pays an annual salary of $211,330.

Tangeman was scheduled to take over as presiding judge in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Jan. 1 after being elected last month to the position by the court’s 11 judges. The two-year executive position leads the court in establishing policies and allocating resources. A San Luis Obispo Superior Court spokeswoman said the court’s judges are set to decide next week when to hold another election for presiding judge.

To maintain court services, the court will schedule retired judges to temporarily fill the vacancy while it awaits a judgeship appointment by the Governor’s Office.

The San Luis Obispo Superior Court now has two pending judgeship appointments.