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Home > Danielle Douglas
Danielle Douglas



Danielle Douglas

Judge, Contra Costa Superior Court
Year Graduated: 1999

Summary Bio

Superior Court of California Judge Danielle Douglas got her courtroom start on the McGeorge School of Law campus in Sacramento. 

Judge Douglas, '99, was appointed to the Contra Costa Superior Court by Governor Jerry Brown in July 2014 and joined the bench that August after concluding her last murder trial as a San Francisco prosecutor. She had previously served as a deputy district attorney in the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office from 2000 to 2013.  

Her move to San Francisco last year brought back memories for the 1998-99 McGeorge mock trial team member -- her trials took place in the same courthouse where she had represented the law school in the TYLA regionals as a third-year law student. "We only made the semifinals, but that's not the what I most remember about my McGeorge experience," Judge Douglas says. "I had taken Trial Advocacy, and Professor Jay Leach said I should go out for the team. I always wanted to be a prosecutor, and that Trial Ad course and my experience on the team paved the way for my career."  

Judge Douglas grew up in Redwood City, went to undergraduate school in Missouri, and returned to California following a divorce to go to law school. "I was accepted at three California law schools," she says. "McGeorge was at the top of my list, and it proved to be the best choice for me because it taught me to be a trial attorney."  

Judge Douglas landed a job at the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office right out of law school. She built a reputation as a diligent prosecutor, popular among her colleagues, opposing lawyers and judges. "I ran into a lot of McGeorge graduates along the way. One thing I noticed is that there is a different caliber of trial attorneys that come out of McGeorge," she says. "They know how to handle themselves in court. They know how to argue to get evidence in on their side."  

Serving as a member of her office's domestic violence unit, Judge Douglas tried her first murder charge when the victim of an assault later died. It was the first of many homicide victories for the young DA.  

"I had been looking forward to the challenge of murder trials, but there was a lot of pressure," Judge Douglas says. "It's not like a DUI. There is a family behind you looking to get justice. All of a sudden, there's an audience listening to your every word -- a sister, a brother to whom this issue matters so much."  

One case, in particular, stands out in Judge Douglas' memory. "A murder victim's mom sat through every day of a trial that dragged on three months and ended in an 11-1 hung jury in favor of conviction," she says. "It filled me with sadness for her. But the inner strength of some people is amazing. On the first day of the retrial, I looked behind me, and she was right there. She sat quietly through every hour and every day of a two-month retrial that ended in conviction."  

Judge Douglas moved to San Francisco in 2013 because her mom lives there, and her brothers lives in Daly City. "In part, I also just wanted to experience another office," she says.  Little did she know she would soon be bouncing back to the Easy Bay.

"I'm replacing a retired judge who sat in Martinez, but I am stationed in Richmond," Judge Douglas says. "There was an East Bay judge who took me under her wing and once told me I would make a good judge. I'm humbled by the opportunity and determined to prove her right."

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