The Honorable David O. Carter

U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Department 9D


The Hon. David O. Carter is a District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division. He was nominated by President Bill Clinton in June 1998 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in October of that same year. He filled the seat vacated by the Hon. William J. Rea.

He is a registered Democrat.

Judge Carter graduated cum laude with his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1967.

After graduating from college, he promptly joined the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served in active duty in Vietnam. During his military deployment to Vietnam, Carter fought in the Battle of Khe Sahn on April 16, 1968. As a member of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, C Company, his platoon was positioned on the front lines of the skirmish, which would prove to be one of the deadliest battles in the Vietnam War. Carter sustained multiple injuries in the battle with the North Vietnamese Army that day and would spend the better part of the following year rehabilitating from his injuries. For his bravery in the battle, Carter was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. He also received a medical discharge from the U.S. Marines in 1969 having reached the rank of 1st Lieutenant.

He returned to California after his military service to pursue his law degree. Carter went on to earn his J.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law in 1972.

After graduating from law school, he joined the Orange County District Attorney's Office as a deputy district attorney in 1972. During his nine-year tenure there, Carter was assigned to the D.A.'s Homicide Division, where he would eventually serve as the senior deputy district attorney. While assigned to the Homicide Division, Carter would help prosecute the notorious serial killer, William Bonin, also known as the "Freeway Killer."

Carter remained with the D.A.'s office until becoming an Orange County Municipal Court judge in 1981. Two years later, he was then elected to serve on the Orange County Superior Court, a position he would hold until his appointment to the District Court in 1998. During his tenure on the Superior Court, Judge Carter served as the Supervising Judge of the Criminal Division.

During his tenure on the District Court, Judge Carter has presided over several high-profile cases including Anna Nicole Smith's multimillion-dollar battle over the estate of her late husband in 2002, as well as a racketeering case brought against the Aryan Brotherhood also in 2002. Judge Carter has also been an outspoken advocate for the homeless community in Orange County and has sought to address the issue of the homeless encampments in the area.

Judge Carter was born in Providence, Rhode Island.

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