The Honorable Joanne Motoike

Orange County Superior Court, Department L21


The Hon. Joanne Motoike is a judge of the Superior Court of Orange County in California. She was appointed by former governor Jerry Brown on August 29, 2013, filling a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Nancy A. Pollard.

Motoike earned a B.A. from the University of California, Irvine. She then received a J.D. from Loyola Law School.

She began her legal career in 1994, serving as a deputy public defender in the Office of the Public Defender of Orange County. Then, from 2006 to 2008, she served as a trial attorney with the United Nations Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. This position required her to navigate a complex, mixed-jurisdiction legal system in order to prosecute high-level political figures for crimes against humanity. She returned to the Office of the Public Defender of Orange County in 2008, serving as a senior deputy public defender until her appointment to the Superior Court of Orange County.

Motoike became interested in the law after listening to stories about her father, a second-generation Japanese-American who was sent to an internment camp during the Second World War.

She was a resident of Long Beach, California at the time of her appointment to the bench.

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