SAN DIEGO—Associate Justice Judith Haller of the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, will retire on Oct. 31 after 28 years on the appellate bench.
Justice Haller was appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson to the Court of Appeal in 1994. Prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeal, she was appointed by Gov. George Deukmejian to the San Diego County Superior Court, where she served as a trial court judge for five years.
Administrative Presiding Justice Judith McConnell said: “Justice Judith Haller is a brilliant legal scholar and well-known as an expert in judicial and legal ethics. Because of her integrity and professionalism, she has served as a special master for the Commission on Judicial Performance in some of their most challenging cases. Her retirement is well deserved after a long career as an attorney, trial court judge and appellate justice and she will be deeply missed.”
Justice Haller was born and raised in Los Angeles and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA. After graduation, she earned a Master of Arts degree, with honors, from San Diego State University, and graduated with honors from California Western School of Law.
After admission to the Bar, Justice Haller worked as a deputy district attorney for the San Diego District Attorney’s Office for three years prosecuting criminal cases and litigating dependency matters. Over the next 10 years she worked at Higgs Fletcher and Mack, where she represented clients involved in civil litigation disputes. She was a partner at the firm when she was appointed to the superior court.
While serving on the superior court, Justice Haller presided over civil and criminal trials, a law and motion department, and a civil independent calendar department.
During her tenure at the appellate court, Justice Haller has been actively involved in a leadership role in organizations and committees devoted to improving the judicial system; maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct; and educating members of the legal community. Among her work in this area, she was appointed by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye to the Executive Committee of the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System, where she served as chair of the Civil Working subgroup, and in 2017 made several recommendations to increase and improve assistance for self-represented litigants and streamline and reduce the cost of litigation in all civil cases.
Justice Haller is currently a member of the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions; a former chair of the California Judges Association Ethics Committee; and has served as a Special Master to preside over disciplinary hearings brought by the Commission on Judicial Performance. She is also a Master and member of the Executive Committee of the American Inns of Court, Enright Chapter; a Master of the San Diego Appellate Inn of Court; and a longtime member of Lawyers Club of San Diego and the Board of Trustees of California Western School of Law. For the past 16 years, she has served as the chair of the Appellate Court Legacy Project and has been a frequent lecturer at continuing education programs.
Justice Haller has been honored to be recognized by the legal community as a recipient of the Bernard E. Witkin, Esq. Award (presented annually for civic leadership and excellence in the teaching, practice, enactment or adjudication of the law); the Joan Dempsey Klein Distinguished Jurist Award (presented by California Women Lawyers for excellence as a jurist and commitment to gender equity); and a 2012 Professionalism Award (presented by the American Inns of Court Foundation).