First assignment likely Los Banos for new Superior Court judge

By Mike North / mnorth@mercedsunstar.comJanuary 3, 2013 

MERCED -- A veteran commissioner with the Merced County Superior Court is ready to take the reins as a judge after his appointment by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Harry Jacobs, 67, spent 12 years as a commissioner in the Merced County Superior Court. His first assignment will probably be in Los Banos.

Presiding Judge Brian McCabe said Jacobs' vast legal knowledge and familiarity with various types of cases make him a good fit. He was appointed Dec. 26.

"I think he's going to hit the ground running and probably will be one of the most qualified people to ever be appointed to the court," McCabe said. "We couldn't be more pleased with the selection."

McCabe said he intends to assign Jacobs to Los Banos for his first two years as a judge. His first assignment probably will come Jan. 22.

Jacobs, a Democrat, said he grew up in Las Vegas and got his bachelor's degree from the University of San Francisco. He served four years in the Air Force before going to law school at Lincoln University in San Francisco, as well as its branch in San Jose.

He practiced law privately for nine years in Gustine before becoming a deputy public defender with Merced County. Jacobs served in that role from 1989 to 2000.

After working as a commissioner from 2000 to 2011, Jacobs retired, and the position was converted into a judgeship, he said, adding that he retired so he could apply for the spot.

Commissioners are used interchangeably with judges in the Merced County Superior Court, McCabe said.

Commissioners are hired by the court, but judges are appointed by the governor. They serve six-year terms before running for re-election.

"I'm excited, I'm honored, I'm humbled -- especially because of all the support I got from co-workers and colleagues," Jacobs said.

Jacobs has three children and three grandchildren; he remarried in September.

He plays the bass in a jazz band, goes ocean kayaking and lives in Merced. He's been in Merced County since 1978.

His pay as a judge will be $178,789 a year, according to the governor's office.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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