Judge Norbert Ehrenfreund | Trellis: Legal Intelligence + Judicial Analytics

The Honorable Norbert Ehrenfreund

San Diego County Superior Court, Department deceased (website)

Court Info

San Diego County Superior Court, Department deceased (website)


The Hon. Norbert Ehrenfreund (deceased) was a judge for the San Diego County Superior Court in California. He was appointed to the bench in 1975 by former governor Jerry Brown. He retired from the bench in 1995. Ehrenfreund died on December 23, 2016, at the age of 95.

He graduated with his bachelor's degree from the Missouri School of Journalism in 1943. Ehrenfreund continued his education at Columbia University, where he received his M.A. in political science in 1950. He also went on to pursue his LL.B., graduating from Stanford Law School in 1959.

Ehrenfreund served in the U.S. Army during World War II. During his service, he would not only help to liberate concentration camps, but he also received a bronze star for his bravery during the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, Ehrenfreund served as a journalist for the Stars and Stripes newspaper, covering the Nuremberg Trials from 1946 to 1952.

His coverage of the Nuremberg trials led Ehrenfreund to write a book based on his experiences. He also served as a prolific speaker on the subject for many years after the war.

After returning to the states, Ehrenfreund became a deputy district attorney for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office in 1960. Then, in 1968, he joined Defender's, Inc., where he served as a chief trial attorney until his appointment to the bench in 1975.

While on the bench, Ehrenfreund presided over the Fotomat trial from 1981 to 1983. The trial, which saw the photo kiosk franchise owners embroiled in a dispute with the parent company, would drag on for 21 months, and at the time, held the distinction of being the longest trial in California history. It ultimately ended in a settlement between the parties.

Ehrenfreund, who was born in Peekskill, New York, was also an actor, having performed in several off-Broadway productions in New York.


LL.B. from Stanford Law School (1959)

M.A. from Columbia University (1950) (Political Science)

Bachelor's degree from Missouri School of Journalism (1943)


Judge at San Diego County Superior Court in San Diego County, California (1975 to 1995)

Chief Trial Attorney at Defenders, Inc. (1968 to 1975)

Deputy District Attorney at San Diego County District Attorney's Office in San Diego County, California (1960 to 1968)

Journalist at Stars and Stripes Newspaper (1946 to 1952)

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