Judge James Herman currently presides over a criminal trial department. Appointed to the Santa Barbara Superior Court in 2005, Judge Herman is past Presiding Judge of the Court. Former assignments include Juvenile Presiding Judge, criminal trials, Civil Supervising Judge, probate and family law and the Appellate Division. He has served as a member of the Court’s executive committee and chaired its Technology Committee. As Juvenile Presiding Judge, he established a dependency drug court for parents at risk.
Before becoming a judge, he maintained a complex commercial litigation practice with offices in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles from 1984 to 2005 and was a Deputy Public Defender, Riverside, San Diego (Defenders Inc.) and Santa Barbara Counties from 1976 to 1984. After serving five years as a member of the State Bar Board of Governors, Judge Herman became President of the State Bar of California, serving in that role from 2002-2003. He went on to serve as Lawyer Representative for the Judicial Council of California from 2004-2005.
Judge Herman has lectured and written on jury selection, evidence, litigation skills, professional responsibility, ethics and elimination of bias for CEB, PLI, CAOC, CJA, CJER and other bar and community groups.
Judge Herman graduated from California Western Law School and went on to receive an LLM from New York University’s School of Law, where he was a Robert Marshall and Jacob Fuchsberg Fellow. He also holds a Certificate in Chinese Mandarin from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.