Photo courtesy of Sheila Lichtblau
Photo courtesy of Sheila Lichtblau

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Deputy County Counsel Sheila Lichtblau appeared headed toward victory in her election for Marin Superior Court judgeship on election night, where she held a 4-point margin of victory over her opponent, Deputy Public Defender Michael Coffino.

With 181 of 182 precincts reporting, Lichtblau had garnered 35,881 votes, or 52 percent. Coffino had 33,151 votes, or about 48 percent.

The duo squared off for the vacant seat of Marin Superior Court Office No. 2. The incumbent, Judge Faye D’Opal, plans to leave the bench when her term expires in December.

Lichtblau, who is of Indian and Puerto Rican descent, received D’Opal’s endorsement for the seat.

Lichtblau, 50, campaigned on the principals of bringing greater diversity to the Marin bench, using especially her background as the daughter of immigrants. She also campaigned heavily on her experiences as a judge pro term and as a federal mediator. She’s specialized in civil litigation, and before the Marin County Counsel’s Office in 2006, she worked at a corporate law firm in San Francisco, the state Department of Industrial Relations and an anti-poverty nonprofit.

She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Coffino, a 48-year-old resident of Sausalito, employed his own campaign to voice what he thinks is a severe lack of career defense attorneys on the Marin bench. He said his experience as a defense attorney includes representing thousands of defendants and going to trial on more than 50 occasions.

He has served as a Marin County public defender since 2003 and has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Oregon and master’s and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin. Coffino’s endorsement list included San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, California State Controller Betty Yee, “Gorky Park” author Martin Cruz Smith, CNN commentator Van Jones and numerous mayors and council members in Marin.