The Honorable Vanessa W. Vallarta

Monterey County Superior Court, Department 13


The Hon. Vanessa W. Vallarta is a judge for the Monterey County Superior Court in California. She was appointed to the bench by former Governor Jerry Brown in 2013. She filled the vacancy created by the elevation of the Hon. Adrienne M. Grover to the Court of Appeal.

She is a registered Democrat.

Judge Vallarta received her B.A. from the Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1983. She went on to earn her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1987.

After graduating from law school, Vallarta clerked for the Hon. Thomas Tang with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Arizona. Then, in 1988, after completing her clerkship, she became an associate at the law firm Heller, Ehrman, White, and McAuliffe, where she practiced for two years. She left the firm in 1990 to serve as the executive director and attorney for the Center for Community Advocacy in Salinas, a position she would hold for five years. Vallarta then joined the law firm Lombardo and Gilles LLP, where she practiced from 1995 to 2000. Then, after a brief stint as general counsel and vice president of human resources at Natural Selection Foods LLC, she entered into solo practice in 2002.

Vallarta then became the city attorney for the City of Salinas in 2005. During her tenure in that position, she handled Pitchess motions and officer-involved shootings for the City and also worked with the Joint Gang Task Force for Monterey County. She was serving as the city attorney for Salinas at the time of her appointment to the Superior Court in 2013.

During her tenure on the bench, Judge Vallarta has presided in the Probate Department and the Civil Trial Department at the Monterey Courthouse.

Vallarta has served on the board of directors for the Monterey County Bar Association. She was also appointed by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court to serve on the Trial Court Facility Modification Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee on Providing Access and Fairness.

Judge Vallarta was born in Mexico City and immigrated to the United States with her parents as an infant. Her great-grandfather, Ignacio L. Vallarta, was the president of the Mexican Supreme Court. The city of Puerto Vallarta was named after him.

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