The Honorable Cheri T. Pham

Orange County Superior Court, Department C44


The Hon. Cheri T. Pham is a judge for the Superior Court of Orange County in California. She was appointed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in July 2010, filling a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Peter Polos.

Pham attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she earned a B.A. in economics and business in 1987. She then received a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1990.

Pham began her legal career as a deputy public defender with the Office of the Public Defender of Orange County in 1990. With the bankruptcy of Orange County in 1995, Pham co-founded the Office of the Alternate Defender in Orange County, an office designed to handle cases that the Office of the Public Defender could no longer address. Two years later, she joined the Office of the District Attorney as a deputy district attorney, serving in the Gang Unit, the Consumer Fraud and Environmental Protection Unit, and the Family Protection Unit.

Pham was born in Dalat, Vietnam. When she was 15 months old, she moved with her family to Saigon, where they stayed until the fall of Saigon in 1975. Her family moved to Guam and then to Camp Pendleton, all before settling in San Diego, California with sponsorship from a Presbyterian church. In San Diego, her mother worked in a garment factory and her father worked as a social worker. Four years later, the family moved to Huntington Beach, California, where her mother worked as an assembler at Edwards Laboratories. Pham graduated from Edison High School in 1983 as valedictorian.

Pham spends her free time reading true crime books. She enjoys watching crime shows, such as Criminal Minds, CSI, and Law and Order: SVU.

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