The Honorable Denise de Bellefeuille

Santa Barbara County Superior Court, Department retired


The Hon. Denise de Bellefeuille (Ret.) was a judge for the Santa Barbara County Superior Court in California. She was originally appointed to the Santa Barbara County Municipal Court by former Governor Pete Wilson in 1994. She was subsequently elevated to the Superior Court as a result of the court's unification in 1998. De Bellefeuille retired from the bench in 2014, and her vacancy was filled by the Hon. Pauline Maxwell.

De Bellefeuille received her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1976. She went on to earn her J.D. from the University of La Verne College of Law in 1981.

Prior to her appointment to the Municipal Court, de Bellefeuille had served as a deputy district attorney for both the San Bernardino and Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Offices.

During her time on the bench, de Bellefeuille would be credited with helping to create the first domestic violence review calendar for Santa Barbara County. Some of her other assignments on the bench included the criminal division and the civil division, where she presided over general civil, limited civil, and family law cases. She also served as a presiding Juvenile Court judge.

Her memberships included the Ethics Committee of the California Judges Association, the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, the Junior League of Santa Barbara, and the [email protected], a youth program that teaches conflict resolution and mediation skills. She was also one of the founders of the William L. Gordon Chapter of the American Inns of Court.

She received the Justice Richard W. Abbe Humanitarian Award from the Santa Barbara County Bar Association and the Distinguished Service Award from the Anti-Defamation League.

During de Bellefeuille's twenty-year tenure on the bench, she might be best remembered for bringing apple strudel to jurors before trials on Wednesday mornings.

She was also not the only member of her family to hold a judicial position in Santa Barbara County. Her husband, the Hon. James Herman, was appointed to the bench by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005.

In her free time, de Bellefeuille enjoys gardening, swimming, and spending time with her extended family.

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