The Honorable Patricia L. Kelly

Santa Barbara County Superior Court, Department SM9


The Hon. Patricia L. Kelly is a judge for the Santa Barbara County Superior Court in California. She was appointed to the bench by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010.

She is a registered Democrat.

Judge Kelly graduated with her B.A. in political science from California State University, Northridge in 1990. She went on to earn her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1994.

After law school, Kelly joined the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, where she served as a deputy district attorney until joining the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office as a deputy in 2005. During her tenure as a deputy district attorney at both the Riverside and Santa Barbara counties, Kelly helped prosecute gang and major narcotics cases. She remained with the Santa Barbara D.A.'s office until her appointment to the Superior Court in 2010.

Kelly has also served as a high school mock trial team coach.

During her time on the bench, Judge Kelly was elected to serve as the Assistant Presiding Judge in 2015 and was the first woman in the history of the court to serve as a Presiding Judge of the Superior Court, a position she held from January 2017 to December 2018. Her other assignments have included serving as the Supervising Criminal Judge for North County and she has also presided over felony, misdemeanor, small claims, and traffic cases.

Her judicial committees have included the Court's Executive Committee, the Court's Security Committee, the Criminal Rules and Forms Committee, the Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee, and the TCPJAC Executive Committee.

Judge Kelly's great-great-grandfather was a Supreme Court Justice.

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