The Honorable Jonathan E. Karesh

San Mateo County Superior Court, Department 20

Biography

The Hon. Jonathan E. Karesh is a judge for the Superior Court of San Mateo County in California. He was appointed to the bench by former Governor Gray Davis in 2000.

Karesh earned a B.A. in history from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982. He then continued his studies at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where he completed a J.D. in 1985.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Karesh alternated between the public and the private sector. He began his legal career as an associate at Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold in 1985, handling product liability and personal injury cases. Two years later, he left the firm and joined the Office of the District Attorney of San Mateo County. He then briefly returned to Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold in 1989, where he practiced for one year before settling back into the Office of the District Attorney of San Mateo County. During his tenure as a deputy district attorney, Karesh specialized in narcotics and civil asset forfeiture cases.

Karesh was the second LGBT judge to preside over the Superior Court in San Mateo County. He has been an active participant in the mentoring program of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom.

His father, the Hon. Joseph Karesh (deceased), served on the Superior Court of San Francisco County. He is well-known as the judge who sentenced Huey Newton, a Black Panther leader, to prison for possessing a firearm.

Karesh is an avid music fan. He previously worked part-time as a DJ at KTOM, a country-western radio station. And, when not presiding over cases, he is a folk music guitar player.

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