The Honorable Denise Lee Whitehead

Fresno County Superior Court, Department 12


The Hon. Denise Lee Whitehead is a judge on the Superior Court of Fresno County in California. She was appointed in 2001. She was re-elected to the bench after running unopposed in 2016.

Judge Whitehead received her undergraduate degree from California State University Fresno and later received her J.D. from the University of San Francisco Law School.

Prior to becoming a judge, Whitehead served as a senior staff attorney for the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Fresno. Later she worked as an associate attorney at Richert & Patch in Fresno and as a California Supreme Court research attorney.

Whitehead eventually served as a Fresno Superior Court Commissioner. During her time as Commissioner, she was instrumental in founding a number of court programs including the Keep Kids in School-Truancy Prevention Project as well as the Court Appointed Special Advocates program.

Following her time as Commissioner, Whitehead became a partner at her own law firm, Ophelia & Whitehead, located in Fresno.

At times she has had memberships in Fresno County Women Lawyers, Family Court Advisory Committee, Domestic Violence Round Table, and the Family Law Local Rules Committee.

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