Judge Christopher R. Bowen | Trellis: Legal Intelligence + Judicial Analytics

The Honorable Christopher R. Bowen

Contra Costa County Superior Court, Department 40 (website)

Court Info

Contra Costa County Superior Court, Department 40 (website)

Clerk phone: 925-608-1140


The Hon. Christopher R. Bowen is a judge of the Superior Court of Contra Costa County, California. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him to the bench in October 2010.

Judge Bowen earned his bachelor's degrees in Anthropology and French from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. He later received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1993.

After graduating from law school Bowen spent 17 years as a Contra Costa County Public Defender becoming a Deputy Public Defender in October 1994 and later working at the Alternate Defender Office.

Judge Bowen was a member of the Contra Costa County Bar Association having served two years on its board of directors. He also held membership in Sacramento Lawyers for the Equality of Gays and Lesbians, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, and the Robert G. McGrath American Inn of Court.

Since becoming a judge he has worked in the court’s family and criminal law divisions. He spent two years as Family Law Supervising Judge before being assigned to criminal trials.

Bowen serves as a director for the International Association of LGBTQ+ Judges and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts' California Chapter. He also frequently presents seminars on issues involving domestic violence and restraining orders, as well as other related topics in family and criminal law.

Judge Bowen is believed to be the first openly gay man appointed to the Contra Costa County, California court.

In answer to what he enjoys best about his job, Judge Bowen said that he enjoys working with self-represented and in-pro per parties in order to ensure that they have the opportunity to be heard.

Judge Bowen has always considered himself a part of the East Bay community and has volunteered at a homeless shelter in San José.

Bowen is a fluent French speaker.

He is a Democrat.


J.D. from University of Virginia School of Law (1993)

Bachelor's Degree from Santa Clara University (Anthropology and French)


Public defender at Public Defender's Office in Contra Costa County, California (1994 to 2010)

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