Merced County Times Newspaper
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Supporters celebrate Saini-Donabed’s run for Superior Court judge


Family, friends and local supporters of Monika Saini-Donabed gathered at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Merced last week to celebrate the candidate’s run for a seat on the bench of Merced County Superior Court.

Saini-Donabed, a former prosecutor and court researcher, is presenting a somewhat rare local challenge to a sitting judge — in this case incumbent Judge David Hood, who was appointed by the office of Governor Gavin Newsom in 2013.

Saini-Donabed is a Merced resident who grew up in Livingston and went to local schools. She went on to UC Davis where she received a law degree. After passing the bar, she went to work for the Merced County DA’s Office, working cases from misdemeanors to homicides, and spending most of her efforts with the Special Victims Unit. For the seven years, she has been working as a staff attorney for the Merced County Superior Court, researching and assisting judges. Due to a shortage of local judges, Saini-Donabed said she has also served as a judge pro-tem, stepping into the role for small claims and traffic cases.

“I have litigation experience. I have research experience. I know the law better than anyone else. And I have bench experience as well,” she told supporters. “I have spent most of my time serving this community while raising my family. I have coached basketball. I am currently coaching soccer. I am a part of various organizations.”

The candidate says she is running for the seat because she is the most qualified and because she “shares the values of this community as a product of this community.”

The event was hosted by the Merced County Indian Chamber of Commerce. Saini-Donabed is one of the founding members of the chamber that started in 2019.

She is married with 3-year-old twins.

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