MEDIATION and Arbitration Services

 Civil case and Criminal Defense Representation

​The patience to listen, the experience to resolve 

​​​​​​Hon. FRANK  J. OCHOA, (Ret.) 

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Retired Judge of the Superior Court


Southern California Mediation Association’s Judge of the Year (2000)

Of Counsel Sanger Swysen & Dunkle
125 East De La Guerra St., Suite 102, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
•(805) 962-4887  • Cell:  (805) 451-1240   • Fax (805) 963-7311 •

National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals
California Academy of Distinguished Neutrals
California State Mediation and Conciliation Service-

-California Public Employment Relations Board
American Arbitration Association
Resolute Systems, LLC
Southern California Mediation Association
Santa Barbara County Superior Court (CADRe Program)
Ventura County Superior Court Mediation Program 

Judicial Experience

Santa Barbara County Courts

Judge, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Barbara    1/6/97—1/3/15

Trial court judge: full range of civil, family, probate, criminal, and juvenile matters  

       -Elected to position effective 1/6/97; re-elected 11/5/02, 11/4/08, and 11/04/14
       -Presiding Judge (1/98–1/01)
       -Designed and Implemented Santa Barbara Superior Court’s CADRe
            (Court Administered Appropriate Dispute Resolution) “ADR” Program
       -Designed and Implemented Santa Barbara Superior Court’s
            Adult and Juvenile Drug Court Programs

 Judge, Santa Barbara Municipal Court    1/2/83—1/5/97
       - Appointed 1/2/83, Elected 1988 and 1994

       -Presiding Judge (1/87–1/89, 1/93–1/95)
       - Acting Presiding Judge (3/83–1/85, 1/86–1/87, 1/92–1/93)
Justice pro Tempore
        -  Assigned by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court: 

              Second Appellate District, Division Six.  Authored published and unpublished opinions

Statewide Committees and Associations

      Member, Probation Services Task Force (PSTF)  8/00—7/03
      Chair, PSTF Services and Caseload Standards Subcommittee  9/00—7/03
      PSTF Liaison, Proposition 36 Implementation Workgroup  12/00—7/03
      Member, Presiding Judges Advisory Committee (PJAC)  4/99—1/01
      Member, PJAC Transitional Executive Committee  5/00—1/01
      Member, Trial Court Budget Commission  11/98—12/00

Special Master, California Commission on Judicial Performance
Appointed by California Supreme Court to review allegations of

judicial misconduct and conduct evidentiary proceedings.  12/05/06—1/3/15

      Executive Board Member, California Judges Association (CJA)  9/92—9/95
      Executive Board Member, Juvenile Court Judges of California (JCJC)  4/00—4/02
      Team Captain, JCJC Legislative Review Committee  2/01­­—4/02
      Chair, CJA Court Administration Committee   9/88—9/90
      Member, CJA Court Administration Committee   9/84—9/88
      Member, Court Personnel Subcommittee   9/84—9/88
      Chair, Municipal and Justice Courts Subcommittee  9/84—9/88

Juris Doctor, Martin Luther King Jr. School of Law, University of California, Davis  1975
Bachelor of Arts (English and History-double major), University of California, Santa Barbara  1972
       -Dean’s Honor List – Winter 1971, Spring 1972
Associate of Arts, in English, Long Beach City College  1970

        -Dean’s Honor Roll, 3 semesters

 ADR Courses

  • Mediation Certificate of Training,  Pepperdine University School of Law,  2001
  • Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Continuing Judicial Studies Program  
  • Mediation Certificate of Training, “Mediating Commercial & Litigated Cases”  2015  
  • American Institute of Mediation  
  • MCLE Course, “Avoiding Damaging Mistakes in Mediation”, Santa Barbara County Bar  2015
  • Assn. 7/21/15  
  • American Arbitration Association, “Arbitration Fundamentals and Best Practices for New AAA Arbitrators” 2016
  • American Arbitration Association, “Award Writing”  2016
  • American Arbitration Association, “Protecting the Reasoned Arbitration Award” 2017 

Employment and Experience

  • Current, Of Counsel Sanger Swysen & Dunkle
  • Executive Director, Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County  9/80—1/83
  • Directing Attorney, Legal Services of Northern California–Yolo County  8/76—8/80
  • Staff Attorney, Legal Services of Northern California–Yolo County  4/76—7/76
  • Staff Attorney, Legal Services of Northern California-Sacramento Office  1/76---4/76
  • Intern, Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office  Fall 1974
  • Intern, Colorado State Public Defender’s Office  Summer 1974
  • Intern, Sacramento Concilio’s Centro Legal  1973—1974

Admissions to Practice Law:
•  Admitted to practice law in the State of California (1975), State Bar Number 67011
•   U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (1976)
•  U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (1979)
•  U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1980)

University and Law School Teaching
Lecturer, “Latinos and the American Legal System” College of Letters and Sciences, University of California at Santa Barbara, Interdisciplinary Studies--Interdisciplinary 185LL  Fall 2016
Lecturer, “Latinos and the American Legal System”  Political Science Department, University of California at Santa Barbara--Political Science 106AP Spring 2015
Lecturer, “Law and Civil Rights” during 9 Quarters in the Chicana/o Studies Department University of California at Santa Barbara—Chicana/o Studies 172 2009-2014

Professor, Santa Barbara College of Law:  Taught courses in Legal Method and Process, Statutory Law, and Professional Ethics 1992—1997
Community College Instructor Lifetime Credential No. 10465 Subject Matter Area: Law  1976      

 Public Speaking Experience

  • Coordinator and Participant, “Meet Your Judges Forum—Santa Barbara County”  
  • California Judges’ Association, State Bar of California  1990
  • Seminar Instructor,  “Chicano Society and Culture:  An International Conference”  
  • Center for Chicano Studies, University of California Santa Barbara  1990
  • Panelist, Annual Statutory Civil Law Update, Civil Law Institute  
  • California Center for Judicial Education and Research 1990
  • Moderator and Panelist, “What is Happening in Dependency Court”  
  • California County Social Welfare Department Directors Statewide Annual Conference  1999
  • Panelist, Judicial Council Probation Services Task Force:  Roundtable Discussions on Child Welfare and Delinquency, “Beyond the Bench” Dependency Conference  2000
  • Moderator and Panelist, “My Child * Your Children . . . Are they Safe?”
  • Santa Barbara Community Forum sponsored by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Family Service Agency, and Child Abuse Listening and Mediation Services  2001
  • Panelist, Prop. 36 Working Group, California Drug Court Symposium  2001
  • Panelist, Integrating ADR Processes with Case Management Systems  
  • Statewide Conference on Court-Connected ADR Programs for Civil Cases  2001
  • Panelist, Probation Services Task Force Roundtable Discussion  
  • California Juvenile Delinquency & The Courts Conference  2001
  • Panelist, “How to Provide Effective Services to Non-English Speaking Self-Represented Litigants,” Assisting Self-Represented Litigants in California Conference  2001
  • Faculty, Adult Drug Court Skills–Based Planning Workshop, Drug Courts Programs, U.S. Dept. Of Justice and the National Drug Court Institute  2008
  • Keynote Conference Speaker, 13th Annual Conference 
  • California Association of Probation Services Administrators  2010
  • Panelist, “Human Rights v. Youth Violence: Conflict or Not?”   
  • Santa Barbara County Bar Foundation Law Week  2010
  • Keynote Conference Speaker, Kern County Mediation Conference 2010
  • Keynote Conference Speaker, Opening Ceremonies 
  • 116th Annual California State Sheriffs’ Association Conference 2010
  • Panelist, “Civil Court Judicial Forum: Advanced Discovery and Trial Practice”
  • National Business Institute, Inc., Ventura, CA  2013
  • Presenter, “Elimination of Bias” Santa Barbara County Bar Association’s
  • 2013 Bench and Bar Conference and a subsequent session MCLE Credit Sessions 2013
  • Panelist, “As Judges See It: Top Mistakes Attorneys Make in Civil Litigation”
  • National Business Institute, Inc., Santa Barbara, CA  2013
  • Presenter, “Elimination of Bias and Avoiding Discrimination Claims” 
  • Office of the County Counsel for the County of Santa Barbara (Feb.), and the Santa Barbara Barrister’s Club (Nov.) MCLE Credit Sessions 2015
  • Co-Presenter, “Ethics in Mediation”
  • Santa Barbara County Bar Association’s 2016 Bench and Bar Conference 2016  
  • Co-Presenter, “Marketing Your Mediation Practice”,
  • Southern California Mediation Association-Santa Barbara Professional Development Group 2016                                                             

Trial Judge in Following Published Decisions

  • People v. Prock (2014) 225 Cal. App. 4th 812; 170 Cal. Rptr. 3d 620; 2014 Ca. App. LEXIS 348
  • People v. Galvez (2011) 195 Cal. App. 4th 1253; 126 Cal. Rptr. 3d 554; 2011 Cal. App. Lexis 647
  • People v. Fisher (2009) 172 Cal. App. 4th 1006; 91 Cal. Rptr. 3d 609; 2009 Cal. App. LEXIS 442
  • Haraguchi v. Superior Court (2008) 43 Cal. 4th 706; 182 P. 3d 579; 76 Cal. Rptr. 3d 250
  • People v. Thompson (2006) 38 Cal. 4th 811; 135 P. 3d 3; 43 Cal. Rptr. 3d 750
  • In re Cruz (2003) 104 Cal. App. 4th 1339; 129 Cal. Rptr. 2d 31; 2003 Cal. App. LEXIS 1
  • In re Marriage of Bryant (2001) 91 Cal. App. 4th 789; 110 Cal. Rptr. 2d 791; 2001 Cal. App. LEXIS 645
  • Townsend v. Superior Court (1998) 61 Cal. App. 4th 1431; 72 Cal. Rptr. 2d 333; 1998 Cal. App. LEXIS 183
  • People v. Davenport (1985) 176 Cal. App. 3rd Supp. 10; 222 Cal. Rptr. 736; 1985 Cal. App. LEXIS 2952

Published Opinions Authored or Counsel of Record
Keith v. Buchanan (1985) 173 Cal. App. 3rd 13; 220 Cal. Rptr. 392.  Wrote published opinion for the California Court of Appeal.  The most widely used digest of California law, Summary of California Law, by B.E. Witkin, states. inter alia, that “U.C.C. (Uniform Commercial Code Section) 2313 (regarding express warranties) was given a definitive construction” in California in the case of Keith v. Buchanan. See Witkin, supra., 10th ed., Vol. 4., “Sales” p. 68. (See generally, Witkin, Summary of California Law, 10th ed., Vol. 4, “Sales” Sections 57-76 at pgs. 68-84).
Other published opinions:
People v. Nottingham (1985) 172 Cal. App. 3rd 484; 221 Cal. Rptr. 1.  (Murder conviction reversed) and Baker v. Pratt (1986) 176 Cal. App. 3rd 370; 222 Cal. Rptr. 253. (Issues regarding six consolidated lawsuits involving intertwined corporate dissolutions determined)

Counsel of Record:
Hennagin v. County of Yolo (E.D. Ca., 1979) 481 F. Supp. 923
Vaughn v. Regents of the University of California (E.D. Ca., 1981) 504 F. Supp. 1349
Driskill v. Woods (1977) 70 Cal. App. 3rd 622; 138 Cal. Rptr. 863
Jonasen v. County of Yolo (E.D. Ca., 1980) 24 E.P.D. Para. 31,364

Employment Policies and Statutes Written:

  • Santa Barbara County’s Personnel Policies related to Anti-Sexual Harassment and Bias Free Workplace.  As Chair of the County Affirmative Action Commission in 1982—Authored the first such countywide policies in the nation.
  • Government Code sections 74640 et. seq.   Authored legislation enacted in the California Government Code which effected consolidation of the Santa Barbara County Marshal’s Office into the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office—1996

Honors and Awards

  • John T. Rickard Judicial Service Award, Santa Barbara County Bar Association 2012
  • Hero for Justice Award, Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County 2011
  • Influential Latino, Latino Today (Tri-Counties publication) 2006
  • Judge of the Year, Southern California Mediation Association 2000
  • Distinguished Alumni, Martin Luther King, Jr. School of Law (UC Davis) 2000
  • President’s Judicial Award, Santa Barbara County Bar Association 1999
  • Vision and Task Award, Dyslexia Awareness & Resource Center 1998
  • Leadership in Public Policy Award, Santa Barbara Mental Health Association 1996
  • Honorary El Presidente, Santa Barbara Old Spanish Days 1987
  • Distinguished Graduate of the Year, Long Beach Unified School District 1983
  • Founding Award Recipient, Santa Barbara Hispanic Achievement Council 1983

Present and Past Community Activities

  • Founder, Latina/o Lawyers Association of Santa Barbara
  • Chair, Santa Barbara County Advisory Board, Casa Pacifica, Centers for Children & Families
  • Founding Trustee, Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation
  • Board President, Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law
  • Board Member, Old Spanish Days
  • Board Member, UC Davis School of Law Alumni Association
  • Board Member, UCSB Alumni Association
  • Member, Santa Barbara Hispanic Achievement Council
  • Founding Member, Santa Barbara American Inns of Court
  • Member, Fighting Back Task Force
  • Board Member, Santa Barbara County Community Action Commission
  • Member and Chair, Santa Barbara County Affirmative Action Commission
  • Judicial Coordinator, Santa Barbara County High Schools Mock Trial Competition
  • Member, Advisory Board, Santa Barbara PARC Foundation (Parks  & Recreation Community Foundation)
  • Member, Santa Barbara New House Inc. Advisory Board