The Hon. Jose L. Alva is a judge for the San Joaquin County Superior Court in California. He was appointed to the bench by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006. He filled the vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. Stephen Demetras (Ret.). At the time of his appointment, Judge Alva was the first Latino to be seated in San Joaquin County.
He is a registered Democrat.
Alva was born in Michoacan, Mexico and immigrated to the United States as a child. His father, who worked as a railroad laborer in California, challenged Alva to choose a different career path other than manual labor.
Determined to do just that, Alva was accepted to the University of the Pacific as part of a pilot undergraduate teaching program. He was also able to attend a Spanish-language emersion program at the University of the Pacific's Elbert Covell College to obtain his degree. Alva would graduate with his B.A. in inter-American studies and social science and an M.A. in educational administration from the University of the Pacific.
Several weeks after graduating from college, Alva was drafted by the United States Army in the midst of the Vietnam War. During his military service, he would be stationed in Germany, where he served as a clerk for a three-star general.
After completing his military service, Alva returned to Stockton, California to work briefly as an administrator at his alma mater, the University of the Pacific, before being appointed by former Governor Jerry Brown to serve as a county supervisor for the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors in 1979. He became the chairman of the Board in 1983.
After serving six years on the Board, Alva decided to pursue his law degree. He attended the Humphreys University Drivon School of Law, where he graduated with his J.D. in 1989.
Prior to his appointment to the bench, Alva spent his entire legal career in private practice. During his sixteen years as a sole practitioner, Alva specialized in land use, real property, business, and family law matters. He would remain in private practice until his call to the bench.
While on the Superior Court, Judge Alva served as a Presiding Judge and an Assistant Presiding Judge of the Court. He has also served on the Court's Executive Committee. His judicial assignments have included Juvenile Dependency and Drug Court calendars at the Stockton Courthouse as well as Traffic, Small Claims, and Fish and Game calendars at the Lodi Branch.
His memberships have included the San Joaquin County Assessment Appeals Board, the San Joaquin County Economic Development Advisory Committee, the San Joaquin County Parks and Recreation Commission, the Easter Seals Society, and the San Joaquin County Mental Health Advisory Board. He was also the founding member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.