The Honorable Dana M. Sabraw

U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, Department 13A


The Hon. Dana M. Sabraw is a District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. He was nominated by President George W. Bush in May 2003 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in September 2003.

After graduating with his A.A. from American River Junior College in 1978, Judge Sabraw then received his B.S. from San Diego State University in 1980. He went on to earn his J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1985.

After graduating from law school, Sabraw joined the Santa Barbara law firm of Price, Postel, and Parma, where he practiced for four years. He then joined the San Diego law firm Baker McKenzie in 1989. Sabraw was practicing there when he received an appointment to the Municipal Court.

In 1995, former Governor Pete Wilson appointed Sabraw to serve as a judge for the San Diego County Municipal Court. Then, three years later, Judge Sabraw was elevated by then-Governor Wilson to the San Diego County Superior Court. He was serving in that capacity when he was nominated to the federal bench in 2003.

Some of his notable cases while on the District Court bench include presiding over a case in 2016 brought against the State of California by a group of parents challenging a California law requiring schoolchildren attending school to be fully vaccinated, holding that it violated their religious beliefs. He also presided over a 2018 class-action lawsuit challenging the government's policy of separating families who cross the U.S.-Mexican border.

Judge Sabraw, who was born in San Rafael, California, is of Japanese descent. His mother, who is from Japan, met his father while he was serving as a U.S. Army soldier stationed there during the Korean War. Judge Sabraw is married to Summer Stephan, who was elected to serve as the San Diego District Attorney in 2018.

He was named the San Diego Person of the Year in 2018 by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Judge Sabraw enjoys training hunting dogs and spending time outdoors in his free time.

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