News Release

Judge Marla O. Anderson to Retire from Bench, Judicial Council Leadership

Judge Anderson will retire April 30, after nearly 30 years as a Monterey County judge and a decade as a member of the policymaking body for California’s court system.
Mar 15, 2024

Judge Marla O. Anderson today announced she will retire on April 30, after serving nearly 30 years as a judge in Monterey County and a decade as a member of the Judicial Council of California, including representing the council in the Capitol as chair of its Legislation Committee.

Said California Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero: “We are grateful for Judge Anderson’s exceptional leadership and commitment to our judiciary. She has played a crucial role in leading important statewide reforms that have improved the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Californians. Through her tireless commitment to public service, and her personal warmth and compassion, she has made a lasting impact in our judicial branch and the communities we serve.”

During her time on the council, Judge Anderson chaired its Legislation Committee, helping to usher in key reforms including the use of remote hearings to preserve access to justice in California courts. Nearly 10,000 civil and criminal hearings are now held remotely around the state each day.

Judge Anderson was also instrumental in the statewide eviction moratorium that helped pause evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic; helped create new training for judges on implicit bias; helped draft important legislation to prohibit peremptory challenges from being used to discriminate against potential jurors; worked to negotiate the provisions of the CARE Act and the Racial Justice Act; and advocated for policy changes to address the shortage of court reporters.

Said Judicial Council Administrative Director Shelley Curran: "Judge Marla Anderson commands profound respect among her Judicial Council peers, court colleagues, and the Legislature. She has been a collaborative, insightful leader. Her success in helping to guide so many important council initiatives is a testament to her skill and dedication to our justice system.”

Judge Anderson also led the council’s Litigation Management Committee, which oversees litigation and claims that raise issues of significance to the judicial branch.

She has played a major role in statewide judicial education efforts, serving on education planning workgroups and as faculty for the council’s Center for Judicial Education and Research. Judge Anderson served as dean of the B.E. Witkin Judicial College for new judicial officers from 2013 to 2014 and as assistant dean from 2011 to 2012.

Said Judge Anderson: “It has been an honor to wear a robe of service as a judge and a humbling privilege and joy to serve on the Judicial Council of California. It has been an opportunity of a lifetime to serve the public by advancing the cause of an equal, fair, accessible, diverse, and inclusive justice system for all Californians.”

Judge Anderson first joined the bench in 1995 in Monterey County after being appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson.

Said fellow Judicial Council member and Executive and Planning Committee Chair Administrative Presiding Justice Brad R. Hill: “Judge Anderson’s contributions to our courts statewide have been extraordinary. We will miss her indefatigable spirit, her ready smile, and warm personality. Her tireless efforts as chair of the Legislation Committee, as well as her statewide leadership in a myriad of other areas, has set her apart.”

Said Technology Committee Chair Judge Kyle S. Brodie: “Improving access to justice requires strong legislative partnerships, and Judge Anderson has been instrumental in working with the Legislature to protect our ability to conduct remote hearings. When the Legislature has questions about how our courts can best serve all Californians, Judge Anderson steps up to answer. She knows what matters, and she fights for it. She has been a relentlessly powerful champion for our courts, and her contributions will endure long after her well-deserved retirement.”

Said Judicial Branch Budget Committee Chair Judge Ann C. Moorman: “Judge Anderson has a unique ability to take difficult issues, break them down into manageable components and then facilitate a candid and intelligent discussion about solutions. I have never in 35 years in the law worked with anyone so adept at building consensus in the midst of a difficult or complex dialogue. She has an unmatched talent in seeing and understanding different perspectives and bringing them together into a unified front going forward. She is articulate in her language, gracious in her tone and unafraid of any perceived obstacle in her demeanor. We are all better listeners, facilitators, and decision-makers for having served with her on the Judicial Council for so many years.”

Said Rules Committee Chair Justice Carin T. Fujisaki: “Judge Anderson has been an inspiration to all of us on the Judicial Council. She has shined as chair of the council’s Legislation Committee, working adroitly and energetically to secure passage of legislation that improves the statewide administration of justice.  No matter how thorny or divisive the issue, Judge Anderson was able to achieve optimal results by drilling down on what mattered and closing the gap between opposing interests and factions. In addition to her exceptional leadership in the branch, Judge Anderson's exceptional warmth and thoughtfulness makes her a cherished colleague and friend.”

Judicial Council Service:

  • Served on the council since 2014
  • Chair: Litigation Management Committee; Legislation Committee
  • Member: Executive and Planning Committee; Judicial Branch Budget Committee; Ad Hoc Workgroup on Post-Pandemic Initiatives; Pretrial Reform and Operations Workgroup; and Commission on the Future of California’s Court System.

Career on the Bench:

  • In 1995, appointed to the bench by Governor Pete Wilson
  • Served as presiding judge of the Superior Court of Monterey County from 2013 to 2015, and as assistant presiding judge from 2011-2012