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California Supreme Court Justice Marvin R. Baxter announced Wednesday that he will retire when his term ends in January, providing Gov. Jerry Brown another opportunity to reshape the state's high court.

Baxter, 74, will have served 24 years. His retirement follows Justice Joyce L. Kennard's departure in April and further signals the coming changes to the court.

"I have been privileged to have such an interesting and fulfilling career in the law, serving as a deputy district attorney, in private practice, as Appointments Secretary to Governor George Deukmejian, and as an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal and Supreme Court," Baxter said in a statement Wednesday.

"It is a great honor to have served on the state's high court since 1991. With three Chief Justices, twelve Associate Justices, and excellent staff, I have been able to contribute to its substantial body of opinions and case law. At the local and statewide levels I was gratified to have the opportunity to assist Governor Deukmejian in the appointment of more than 700 judges and numerous executive branch appointees, and to have supported the evolution of our judicial branch of government as a member of the Judicial Council of California and its committees. Jane and I look forward to an active retirement and will focus our time and attention on family and friends, traveling, hobbies, and charitable activities."

Baxter was nominated to the court by Deukmejian in 1990 and confirmed to a second 12-year term in 2002. A native of Fowler, Baxter attended Fresno State University and Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

"Marv Baxter has been a good friend and trusted advisor for over 30 years. His quiet yet thoughtful demeanor served as a steady influence during some troublesome times that I experienced in the Governor's Office," Deukmejian said. "His endless efforts resulted in well established recommendations that I grew to rely upon, especially in the selection of individuals for judicial appointments. His accomplishments both on and off the bench have been justifiably praised by all who know him."



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