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Judicial Assignments

Santa Barbara - Anacapa Division

Judge Jean Dandona was born at West Point, New York, and raised in a military family. After graduating from West Anchorage High School, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree (cum laude) and secondary teaching credential from the University of California at Santa Barbara. In 1978 she graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (Order of the Coif, Thurston Society).

She was a civil litigator for twenty years. In 1999 she became a research attorney for the Santa Barbara Superior Court and was the Santa Barbara supervising research attorney from 2001 to 2008.

Judge Dandona was appointed Judge of the Superior Court in 2008 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Judge Dandona is currently assigned to a criminal felony trial department. She has previously been assigned to the juvenile justice and dependency courts, the mental health, Veterans and substance use treatment courts, the Incompetent to Stand Trial calendar, and the Appellate Division. 


Judge Maxwell

Judge Pauline Maxwell was born in Massachusetts, where she enjoyed a career as a Registered Nurse before moving to Santa Barbara in 1981. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree (summa cum laude) from the University of California at Santa Barbara and her law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. In 1994 she was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Montecito Union School District, and in 1997 served as the President of the Board.

Judge Maxwell was a civil litigator, first at Foley and Lardner, in Century City, and then with Grokenberger and Smith in Santa Barbara. In 2006 she became a research attorney for the Santa Barbara Superior Court. In 2010, she was appointed Superior Court Commissioner, and presided over minor offense arraignments and trials, as well as Drug Court, Mental Health Treatment Court, and the Clean and Sober calendar. In 2014, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., appointed her Judge of the Superior Court.  

Judge Maxwell has taught Legal Writing as an Adjunct Professor at the Santa Barbara College of Law, and is a Master of the William L. Gordon Inns of Court. She has been an active member of the Santa Barbara Women Lawyers, having previously served on its Board of Directors, and in 2013 was selected as the Attorney of the Year. In 2015, she received the Founding Mothers Award.

Judge Maxwell is currently assigned to a criminal trial calendar. She has previously been assigned to civil, family law, and probate calendars. Judge Maxwell was elected Assistant Presiding Judge for calendar years 2021 and 2022, and in 2023 and 2024 will serve as the Presiding Judge of Santa Barbara County.

Judge Thomas Anderle

Thomas P. Anderle was born on May 24, 1935, in Lake Linden, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Upon graduation he became a commissioned officer in the United States Navy and spent three years serving in the Pacific on destroyers.

In 1964 Judge Anderle graduated from the Loyola University School of Law and began clerking for Justice John J. Ford of the California Court of Appeal. In 1965 he became a Deputy County Counsel in Santa Barbara County and in 1968 he joined a private law partnership. In 1977 he opened his own law practice focusing on water law, education law, and family law. Judge Anderle was a sole practitioner until he was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to the judiciary in December 1997. He closed his law practice and took the bench in February 1998. Judge Anderle is a former president of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association, a past Director and President of the Legal Aid Foundation, and a past member and President of the Santa Barbara County Board of Education.

Department 3 Guidelines

Judge Donna Geck

Judge Donna D. Geck received a BA degree in Journalism from Marquette University and a Juris Doctorate Degree With Distinction from the University of North Dakota Law School. Judge Geck is a member of the Order of the Coif. Judge Donna Geck was appointed to the bench by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in June 2010. Prior to her elevation to the bench, Judge Geck was licensed to practice in four States. Her practice was exclusively civil litigation including jury trials, court trials, arbitrations and mediations.

Judge Geck was board certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and served as a Settlement Master for the Superior Court. She is an Associate of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), past president of the local California Coast Chapter; and past board member of CAL-ABOTA. She also is a Master at the William L. Gordon Inns of Court.

Judge Geck continues to serve as a Teen Court Judge. She is a member of the Santa Barbara Women Lawyers and previously served on the Board of Directors. Judge Geck is member of the California Judges Association and is currently the South Santa Barbara County Civil Supervising Judge, Chair of the Civil Rules Committee and serves on the court’s appellate panel.

Department 4 Info
Department 4 Tentative Rulings
Requested Jury Instructions
Department 4 Forms
Trial Exhibit List Template
Pre-Trial Order: Civil Jury
Pre-Trial Order: Court Trial 
Trial Call Order

Judge Sterne

Judge Colleen K. Sterne was born in Santa Monica, California and raised in southern California. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, graduating in 1980 with a B.A. in English. She graduated from Santa Barbara College of Law in 1988. She also holds a graduate certificate in dispute resolution from Pepperdine University.

Judge Sterne was appointed to the Superior Court by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in January, 2010. Selected in 2002 by the Superior Court judges to be the Family Law Commissioner for Santa Barbara County, Judge Sterne served as a bench officer in that capacity until 2010. During her tenure as a Commissioner, she instructed judicial ethics courses for her fellow Commissioners. Before taking the bench she engaged in a civil litigation practice, ultimately limited to Mediation and dispute resolution.

Judge Sterne is a 2006 recipient of the Judge John T. Rickard Judicial Service Award, and was named Attorney of the Year by Santa Barbara Women Lawyers in 2010. She is a past President and board member of Santa Barbara Women Lawyers. She has participated in the Santa Barbara County Bar Association, California Women Lawyers and the William L. Gordon Chapter of the American Inns of Court.

Department 5 Tentative Rulings

Department 5 Requirements and Procedures

To Be Determined

Santa Barbara - Figueroa Division

Judge Raimundo Montes de Oca  presides over  Department 7.

Born June 1, 1940, in Iowa City, Iowa, and raised in Wellman, Iowa, population 1,000 where his father was the only attorney for miles around, Judge Adams moved to the Oregon coast in 1952. While studying at Willamette University in Oregon, he and three fraternity brothers began a recording career with R.C.A. Victor Records. For several years they recorded and toured internationally as a folk-singing group "The Wayfarers". In 1965 Judge Adams returned to his studies at California State University Northridge and then completed his legal studies at California Western School of Law where he was Associate Editor of the Law Journal. In 1976 he became the first Commissioner of the Santa Barbara Municipal Court by Governor Brown. A past recipient of the County Bar's "Distinguished Service Award" Judge Adams started the "Teen Court" program and was instrumental in establishing the "Children in the Middle" program for divorcing parents. Judge Adams is the father of four sons and married to wife, Gloria.

Commissioner Carol Huber currently oversees Department 9. 

Judge Anderson, III

Judge Anderson was born in Pasadena, California on March 19, 1952. He was raised in Southern California and graduated from La Salle High School in Pasadena. He attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana where he received a BA degree in English. He then attended the University of California, Hastings College of the Law where he received his JD in 1978.

Judge Anderson then went to work at Hillsinger and Castanzo in Orange County practicing in the area of insurance defense and litigation, concentrating in the area of product liability and malpractice defense. He moved to the Santa Barbara office in 1987, and in 1995 opened his own law practice.

Judge Anderson was appointed to the Municipal Court bench in September of 1997, by Governor Pete Wilson. With the unification of the courts of August of 1998, Judge Anderson became a Superior Court Judge. Judge Anderson currently presides over Arraignments, Drug Court, Mental Health Court, Clean & Sober Calendar and Domestic Violence Review Court, in addition to acting as a back up judge for the Criminal Departments. Judge Anderson was the Presiding Judge of the Santa Barbara Superior Court in 2004.

Judge Anderson presides over Dept. 10 in the Santa Barbara Figueroa Division.

Judge Von Deroian presides over Santa Barbara – Figueroa Division Department 11.

Judge Michael J. Carrozzo, graduated from UCLA in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.  In 1992, Judge Carrozzo graduated from Loyola Law School and proceeded into private practice.  In 2004, Judge Carrozzo was commissioned in the United States Army as an officer in the JAG Corp.  After serving three years active duty he joined the Santa Barbara District Attorney's Office.  In 2014, Judge Carrozzo was appointed to the Santa Barbara Superior Court by Governor Jerry Brown.  Judge Carrozzo served as Presiding Judge of the Superior Court and is assigned to a criminal trial department in Santa Barbara. 

Judge Carrozzo presides over Dept. 12 in the Santa Barbara Figueroa Division.

Santa Maria - Cook Division

Judge Patricia L. Kelly graduated from the California State University, Northridge in 1990 with a B.A. in Political Science. She then attended Pepperdine University's School of Law, graduating in 1994.

Judge Kelly began her legal career as a deputy district attorney for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office in their Eastern Division (Indio). In 2005, she relocated and took a position as a deputy district attorney for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office (North County). In both offices, Judge Kelly prosecuted gang and major narcotics cases for the majority of her career.

Judge Kelly was appointed to the Superior Court bench by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in August of 2010. Currently, she is assigned to a direct criminal calendar in Department 6 of the Santa Maria Division, handling felony and misdemeanor trials. Her previous assignments have included criminal arraignments, small claims and minor offenses.

In 2015, Judge Kelly was unanimously elected by her colleagues to the position of Assistant Presiding Judge and served as Presiding Judge of the Superior Court from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018. She was the first woman to hold this position in the history of the court.

In addition, she is a member of the Judicial Council's Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee and was previously a member of the Court Security Advisory Committee. Judge Kelly is also a member of the California Judges Association and currently serves on the Ethics Committee.

Judge Kelly presides over Santa Maria Dept. 1.

Judge Rigali was born and raised in Torrance, California. He was awarded a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame in 1983. After enrolling in Santa Clara University's joint degree program Judge Rigali graduated from the Santa Clara University with both Law and MBA degrees in the late eighties. After employment for several years in Los Angeles where he was an employee of Burke, Williams and Sorensen, James Rigali married and moved to Santa Maria, California. There he practiced general civil law with the firm of Henbury & Rigali.

From 1994 to 2004 he was affiliated with the law firm of Kirk & Simas and his practice focused on real estate matters although his practice included estate litigation and general civil matters. As an active member of the Santa Maria community Judge Rigali was involved in a variety of non-profit organizations.

He and his wife are raising six children who were born in Santa Maria. Judge Rigali ascended to the bench on January 1, 2005, after winning a contested election vying for an open seat. In his first two years on the bench Judge Rigali has presided over hundreds of days of felony and misdemeanor jury trials.

Judge Rigali presides over Dept. 2 in the Santa Maria Cook Division.

Judge Jed Beebe graduated from USC’s Gould School of Law in 1974 and was admitted to the bar the same year.  He was in private practice for seven years in Los Angeles before accepting a position as Deputy County Counsel in Santa Barbara in 1982.  In 1990, he was hired as Research Attorney for the Superior Court in Santa Maria, and continued there until elected a Judge in 2008.  He is currently the North County Civil Supervising Judge and has been in a civil assignment since 2011.

Judge Beebe presides over Santa Maria Dept. 4.

Santa Maria - Miller Division

Judge Karen O’Neil presides over Santa Maria-Miller Division Department 3.

After graduating from the University of San Diego Law School in 1976, Judge Kuns served as a criminal prosecutor for 2 ½ years in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.  In 1980, she moved to the Santa Ynez Valley and established a private law practice, engaging in both criminal and civil litigation. In November 2008, she was appointed to the Superior Court Bench by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  She currently presides over the Drug Court and Mental Health Court calendars in Department 5 in Santa Maria.

Over the past thirty years she has worked extensively as a volunteer, primarily with youth.  In the 1980s, she was an adult advisor for the YMCA’s Youth & Government Program.  For 18 years she volunteered her time as a legal coach for the Santa Ynez High School Mock Trial Program.  Since her appointment to the bench, she has continued to work with the Santa Barbara County High School Mock Trial Competition, now sitting as a judge during competitive rounds.  Over the past 15 years, Judge Kuns has also volunteered her time as a judge in the Santa Barbara County Teen Court Program. 

From 2004 through 2008, Judge Kuns served on the international Board of Trustees for People to People International, an organization founded by President Eisenhower to bring people from different cultures and countries together through cultural and educational exchange and humanitarian projects.  She traveled as an adult leader for PTPI student programs to Russia and Eastern Europe, and was an adult advisor at five Global Youth Forums.  She has also traveled as an adult delegate for People to People International to Cuba, Egypt, and Eastern Europe.  In 2013, she traveled to Calcutta, India, to visit a girls’ school (PACE Universal) that educates young girls who would otherwise be at high risk for prostitution or trafficking.

Judge Kuns grew up on ranches in Colorado and New Mexico, and received her undergraduate degree at UC San Diego.  She is the mother of twin daughters.

Judge Kuns presides over Santa Maria Dept. 5.

Judge Kristy Imel presides over Santa Maria-Miller Division Department 6.

Judge Stephen Dunkle presides over Santa Maria - Miller Division Department 7.

Judge Denise Hippach presides over Santa Maria Dept. 8.

Judge McGregor presides over Dept. SM9 in the Santa Maria Miller Division.

Santa Maria - Juvenile Division

Judge Gustavo Lavayen presides over Santa Maria Juvenile court.

Lompoc Division

On June 7, 2022, the voters of Santa Barbara County elected Stephen Foley to the position of Superior Court Judge in an uncontested race. His term was set to begin on January 2, 2023. However, on October 7, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom granted Judge Foley an interim appointment allowing him to assume the role of judge earlier. Prior to his appointment, Judge Foley served as the Superior Court Commissioner since August 13, 2018.

Judge Foley is a graduate of San Marcos High School. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame and a law degree from the UCLA School of Law in 1996. He began his legal career as a prosecuting attorney at the Riverside County District Attorney's Office. In 2004 he joined the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office and spent ten years working the Santa Maria Office and four years at the Lompoc Office.

Before his appointment, Judge Foley spent ten years serving as a school board member for the Los Olivos Elementary School and Santa Ynez Valley Unified High School. He is a former board member for the Santa Maria Valley Boys and Girls Club (now known as Mid Central Coast). He has also volunteered as a Teen Court judge and Mock Trial coach.

Commissioner Carol Hubner currently oversees Department 2 in Lompoc.

Solvang Division

The Solvang Courthouse is currently vacant. No hearings are being scheduled. 

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