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The Court will be closed Wednesday, June 19, 2024 for Juneteenth

Judicial Biographies

Judicial Biographies

Qualifications and Selection of Judges

Each judge serving on the Bench was a practicing attorney for at least ten years before taking office. Under the law, once an attorney becomes a judge, his or her license to practice law is suspended during the term of judicial service.

There are two ways that attorneys may become judges. They may be elected by the voters in the county in which they will serve in an open election or they may be appointed by the Governor to serve out the remaining term of an incumbent judge who leaves office before the end of his or her term. Judicial vacancies to be filled by the Governor may occur in a variety of ways including retirement or death of the incumbent; appointment of the incumbent to a judicial position in another superior court, such as a court in a neighboring county; or promotion of an incumbent to a judicial position in a higher court, like the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court. Superior court judges are elected to six year terms.

Judge James T. Chou was appointed to the bench in 2010. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his law degree from the University of California, Davis.

Judge Stephen P. Freccero was appointed to the bench in 2015. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University, and his law degree from the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Judge Paul M. Haakenson was appointed to the bench in 2006. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Davis, and his law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Judge Geoffrey M. Howard was appointed to the bench in 2014 with his term starting in February 2015. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his law degree from Harvard University Law School.

Judge Beth S. Jordan was appointed to the bench in 2017. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her law degree from the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Judge Sheila Shah Lichtblau was elected to the bench in 2016 with her term starting in January 2017. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her law degree from the UC College of the Law, San Francisco (Formerly UC Hastings).

Judge Kevin Murphy was appointed to the Marin bench in 2023. Prior to that, he served as a judge at the Alameda County Superior Court since 2006.  He earned his bachelor's degree from Occidental College and his law degree from the San Francisco School of Law.

Judge Kelly V. Simmons was appointed to the bench in 2005. She earned her bachelor's degree from San Diego State University, and her law degree from Pepperdine Law School.

Judge Andrew E. Sweet was appointed to the bench in 2009. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Judge Mark A. Talamantes was appointed to the bench in 2012. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, and his law degree from the UC College of the Law, San Francisco.

Subordinate Judicial Officer Biographies

Referee Paul J. Slavit was appointed by the Court in 2020. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis and his law degree from the UC College of the Law, San Francisco.

Commissioner Janet L. Frankel was appointed by the Court in 2020. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her law degree from the UC College of the Law, San Francisco (Formerly UC Hastings).

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