The Honorable Joseph P. Brannigan

San Diego County Superior Court, Department SD-1703


The Hon. Joseph P. Brannigan is a judge for the Superior Court of San Diego County in California. He was elected to the bench on November 4, 2004.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Peter’s College in 1972. While at St. Peter’s College, Brannigan was a member of the United States Army Reserve Officer Training Corps. He then received a J.D. from the University of San Fernando Valley in 1975.

After finishing law school, Brannigan began his active duty with the United States Army, serving as a 1st Lieutenant in the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas. He later served as an Assistant Judge Advocate, where he represented the United States Army in misconduct discharge boards. While living in Kansas, Brannigan also studied at Wichita State University, where he earned an M.A. in 1978.

Brannigan would return to school once again, this time completing an M.B.A. at Long Island University in 1986.

He began his civilian career as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1978. After completing his training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, he was assigned to the New York Division of the FBI, tasked with investigating white-collar crime, organized crime, and foreign counterintelligence investigations. Then, in 1986, he moved to San Diego, California. He joined the Office of the District Attorney of San Diego as a deputy district attorney, prosecuting driving under the influence cases. He served in this position for three years, eventually moving to the Major Narcotics Unit. He then left the Office of the District Attorney for the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California. He worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney, serving in its narcotics, fraud, general crimes, terrorism, grand jury, and border crimes units.

Brannigan has served on the San Diego Crime Commission. His memberships have included the San Diego County Bar Association as well as the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI.

He has also managed a little league t-ball team.

Recent Cases by Hon. Joseph P. Brannigan

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