The Honorable James E. Herman

Santa Barbara County Superior Court, Department Santa Barbara - 1


Hon. James E. Herman is a judge for the Santa Barbara County Superior Court in California. He was appointed to the bench by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005. He filled the vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. James Jennings (Ret.).

Herman is a registered Democrat.

Judge Herman received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1971. He went on to earn his J.D. from California Western Law School in 1975. He also graduated with his LL.M. from the New York University School of Law in 1976, where he served as a Robert Marshall and Jacob Fuchsberg Fellow.

Herman spent the first seven years of his legal career working as a deputy public defender for the Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Riverside counties.

It would prove to be his only excursion into the public arena, as Herman would spend the next twenty-one years in private practice. He joined the law firm Goux, Romasanta, and Cappello as an associate in 1984 and three years later became a named partner at Rogers, Sheffield, and Herman. He was also a named partner at Reicker, Pfau, Pyle, McRoy, and Herman from 1999 until his appointment to the Superior Court in 2005. During his tenure in private practice, Herman specialized in complex commercial litigation.

During his time on the Superior Court, Judge Herman has served as a Juvenile Presiding Judge, a Civil Supervising Judge and a Presiding Judge of the Court. Some of his assignments have included the criminal trial department, as well as probate, family law, and the Appellate Division. During his time as the Juvenile Presiding Judge, he was instrumental in establishing a drug court to help at-risk parents. He has also been a proponent for the advancement of courtroom technology including electronic court filings as well as making records accessible online.

Judge Herman was appointed by the Hon. Chief Justice Ronald George with the California Supreme Court to serve a three-year term as a voting member of the California Judicial Council in 2010. He was also selected for another three-year term in 2013 by the Hon. Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauy, during which time, Judge Herman served as council liaison to the Kings, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura County Superior Courts. His other Judicial Council duties included serving as chair of the Council's Technology Planning Task Force.

Some of his other judicial committees have included the Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee, the California Commission on Access to Justice, the Court Case Management System General Administrative Advisory Committee, the Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee, the Public Access to Judicial Administrative Records Working Group, as well as various other working groups and subcommittees.

Herman has served as a board member for the Santa Barbara Chapter of the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the Foundation of the State Bar, and the California Rural Legal Assistance and Santa Barbara Legal Aid Foundation. He also served as a member of the State Bar Board of Governors and was the past-president for the Central Coast Chapter of the Federal Bar Association as well as for the State Bar of California.

Some of his awards have included the Light of Hope Award from the Court Appointed Special Advocates in 2011, the Bernard E. Witkin Distinguished Service Amicus Curiae Award from the Judicial Council in 2004, and the Diversity in the Profession Award from the State Bar of California, just to name a few.

Judge Herman hails from Kansas City, Missouri. He came to California by way of the U.S. Air Force. During his time in the service, Herman studied Chinese at the Defense Department's Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. Because of his fluency in Mandarin Chinese, Judge Herman served as a delegation leader during professional exchange visits to the People's Republic of China and has also provided pro bono legal assistance for Chinese-speaking clients.

On a personal note, Judge Herman's wife, the Hon. Denise de Bellefeuille (Ret.), also served as a judge for the Santa Barbara County Superior Court for sixteen years before retiring in 2014.

Recent Rulings by Hon. James E. Herman

Recent Rulings by Hon. James E. Herman

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