The Hon. Christopher R. Bowen is a judge of the Superior Court of Contra Costa County in California. He was appointed to the bench by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in October 2010.
Bowen earned a B.A. in anthropology and French from Santa Clara University. He later received a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1993.
He began his legal career as a deputy public defender with the Office of the Public Defender of Contra Costa County in 1994. During his seventeen-year tenure there, he handled dependency, misdemeanor, and felony cases. This includes a stint at the Office of the Alternate Defender of Contra Costa County.
Bowen served two years on the Board of Directors of the Contra Costa County Bar Association. He has also acted as the Director of the International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges and the California Chapter of the Association of Family Conciliation Courts. His other memberships have included the Sacramento Lawyers for the Equality of Gays and Lesbians, the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, and the Robert G. McGrath American Inn of Court.
Since becoming a judge, Bowen has presided over the court’s family and criminal law divisions. He has frequently presented seminars on domestic violence, restraining orders, and other topics related to family and criminal law.
Bowen is the first openly gay man to be appointed to the Superior Court of Contra Costa County. He has often volunteered at a homeless shelter in San Jose, California.
He is fluent in French.
Bowen is registered as a Democrat.