Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 4:47 pm | Fair 59º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Advice

Public Defender Named Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge

Raimundo J. Montes De Oca will fill seat made vacant by Frank Ochoa's retirement

Chief Public Defender Raimundo J. Montes De Oca has been named to the Santa Barbara Superior Court bench, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Frank Ochoa.
Chief Public Defender Raimundo J. Montes De Oca has been named to the Santa Barbara Superior Court bench, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Frank Ochoa. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk file photo)

Raimundo J. Montes De Oca, who heads the Public Defender’s Office in Santa Barbara County, has been named to the Superior Court bench, it was announced Tuesday by the governor’s office.

Montes De Oca, 67, a Carpinteria resident, has been with the Public Defender’s Office since 1979, and has served the last four years as chief public defender.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. appointed Montes De Oca to the judgeship that came open earlier this year with the retirement of Frank Ochoa.

Being selected for a judgeship is “both a tremendous honor and a great responsibility,” Montes de Oca told Noozhawk Tuesday evening. “You probably don’t realize the responsibility until you are named. This is a big job.”

He said he's not worried about making the transition from being an advocate for criminal defendants to being an impartial arbiter of the law.

“I think that I shouldn’t have any problem doing that,” he said. “You understand what your role is — to listen and give each side a voice…and then give an opinion of what the law requires.”

Montes De Oca grew up in Carpinteria: "My parents were migrant workers. That was the stop they made when I was an infant."

He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UC Santa Barbara, and his law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law.

He served as a deputy public defender in Pima County, Arizona, before returning to Santa Barbara.

Montes De Oca said he expects to start his new job in two to three weeks, after wrapping up his duties in the Public Defender's Office.

He also will attend training at the Judicial College in the coming weeks.

Compensation for the position is $189,041.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >