San Diego Superior Court Judge Patricia Garcia Retires

Feb 29, 2024
Judge Patricia Garcia

The Honorable Patricia Garcia recently completed 24 years on the San Diego Superior Court bench, serving as a Superior Court judge since her appointment in 2003, and as a Family Court commissioner from 2000-2003. 

Judge Garcia started and ended her judicial career in family law, with a criminal law assignment in between. Her criminal law assignment covered all stages of criminal proceedings from arraignments to preliminary hearings and jury trials. In her most recent assignment, Judge Garcia presided over complex family law trials, settlement conferences, and international custody disputes under The Hague Convention.

Before taking the bench, Judge Garcia was the head of the Family Law Department at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, where she handled complex divorce family law matters and earned the Martindale-Hubbell AV lawyer rating. She started her legal career as a family law associate at Mitchell Keeney Barry & Pike after graduating from the University of San Diego School of Law.

“It was my great fortune to have practiced in an area that I loved, with highly skilled and professional lawyers, and to have represented interesting, smart and accomplished people,” said Judge Garcia. “As a judge, it was my honor to have served the public in a manner that I hope served them well and increased the public’s confidence in the courts.”

Judge Garcia served the court and her colleagues locally and statewide. She was elected by her fellow judicial officers to serve on the San Diego Superior Court Executive Committee for four consecutive years, and to serve on the California Judges Association Executive Board for a three-year term, with the last year as secretary/treasurer. She was also selected by court leadership to be the family law site supervisor in the branch courts and to be the judicial liaison to the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association. Currently, Judge Garcia is on the executive committee of the California Bench-Bar Coalition.

Judge Garcia served on the Center for Judicial Education and Research’s Family Law Curriculum Committee from 2005-2008 and over her career has taught and presented to lawyers and judges on multiple topics including complex financial issues, business valuations, income and support, paternity, cross-border jurisdictional issues, civil procedure, domestic violence, attorney’s fees and sanctions, professional conduct and ethics, work-life balance, and career development.

“Judge Garcia has contributed greatly to our court and to the community we serve. She is well-liked and respected by her fellow judicial officers, court staff, lawyers, and, most importantly, the parties who appeared before her,” said San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge Maureen F. Hallahan. “She has a calm, thoughtful, and respectful judicial demeanor coupled with a strong and broad knowledge of the law. We are particularly grateful for her exemplary service in the family law division. She cared deeply about helping the parties through these very difficult times in their lives. We will miss her, but I know she will continue to serve the community in meaningful and important ways.”

Judge Garcia was a role model and mentor to women, students and the next generation of lawyers and judges. She is a founding member of the UCSD Hispanic Scholarship Council, dedicated to creating educational opportunities for students of great promise, but limited resources. In 2002, she was honored with the UCSD Alumni Award for Excellence Distinguished Service to UCSD. She has been on the Advisory Committee of Latinas in the Law since its inception in 2005. She chaired the National Association of Women Judges and San Diego Superior Court’s “Color of Justice” program for high school students who would be first-generation college students. She is the immediate past president and a founding member of the San Diego Latino Judges Association, which is dedicated to outreach, building a robust pipeline of Latino judicial applicants, and mentoring newer judges into leadership positions.

In retirement, Judge Garcia will continue to mentor those who cross her path and remain active in the family law area. She also looks forward to exploring the great outdoors and playing more tennis.