The Hon. Rise Jones Pichon is a judge for the Superior Court of Santa Clara County in California. She was initially appointed to the Santa Clara Municipal Court by former governor George Deukmejian in 1984. She was then elevated to the superior court upon court unification in 1998.
Pichon earned a B.S. in mathematics from Santa Clara University in 1973. She then continued her studies at Santa Clara University School of Law, where she completed a J.D. in 1976.
She began her legal career as a deputy public defender with the Office of the Public Defender of Santa Clara County in 1976. Three years later, she joined the Office of County Counsel of Santa Clara County, where she served as deputy county counsel for four years. Then, in 1983, she was selected to serve as a court commissioner for the Municipal Court of Santa Clara County. She held that position until her appointment to the bench in 1984.
Pichon has served on the Judicial Council of California as well as the California Commission on Judicial Performance.
Her memberships have included the California Judges Association, the American Bar Association, the American Leadership Forum, and the William A. Ingram American Inn of Court.
She has served on the Board of Directors of the St. Thomas More Society and Catholic Relief Services. She has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Santa Clara County Law Library.
Pichon is a recipient of the Gideon and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Santa Clara County Black Lawyers Association, the Judge of the Year Award from the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Social Justice and Human Rights Award from the Santa Clara University School of Law, as well as the Thurgood Marshall Achievement Award from the Santa Clara University School of Law Black Law Students Association.
She was the first minority to serve as a presiding Superior Court judge in Santa Clara County.
Pichon, an African-American, was raised in the segregated South. She attended high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, three years after the integration of public schools. Then, in 1969, she moved to San Jose, California with her family.
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