Honorable Frank Riebli — Department 13

Biographical Information


  • University of California, San Diego, B.A.
  • Columbia University, M.A.
  • University of California College of the Law, San Francisco, J.D., Summa cum Laude

Pre-bench Legal Experience:

Prior to his judicial appointment, Judge Riebli worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for over 10 years in the Northern and Eastern Districts of California. In addition to serving as a line prosecutor in both districts, he also served the Northern District as the Chief of the Oakland Branch Office, the Deputy Chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, Opioid Coordinator, and Professional Responsibility Officer. Before becoming a federal prosecutor, he worked as a Deputy District Attorney in Marin County. Prior to government service, he spent almost a decade in private practice as a commercial litigator at Farella Braun & Martel LLP, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Judge Riebli clerked for Hon. Joseph T. Sneed at the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. He spent part of his clerkship year working for Hon. Marsha S. Berzon.

Judicial Experience

Appointed January 31, 2023. Judge Riebli currently hears misdemeanor calendar and jury trials in the Martinez court houses.

Pre-bench Civic & Professional Activities

  • Civil Air Patrol: mission pilot, safety officer, legal officer
  • Angel Flight: pilot
  • Mustang Soccer coach

Typical Weekly Schedule

Monday through Friday: jury trials


Judge Riebli permits phone or zoom appearances where necessary and appropriate.


In Martinez, motions are heard on Monday and Friday afternoons.


Please send courtesy copies of motions and responses to the Department 13 email.

Voir Dire

The Court will conduct initial voir dire. Counsel will have the opportunity to conduct further examination, subject to reasonable time limits (usually, 15-20 minutes per side when examining 18 jurors in misdemeanor cases, with limited additional time for subsequent jurors). Attorney questions must be reasonably calculated to discover bias or prejudice with regard to the circumstances of the particular case or parties, in accordance with Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 223. Counsel may not use voir dire to precondition or directly or indirectly argue their case.

Jury Instructions

Counsel shall provide the Court with a complete list of anticipated CALCRIM jury instructions prior to trial, as well as any anticipated non-form instructions as soon as the need arises. Based on counsels’ submissions and trial evidence, Judge Riebli will provide a draft set of jury instructions for discussion and argument as soon as possible thereafter.

If counsel intends to display or reference jury instructions during closing argument, then the instructions must be taken verbatim from the Court’s final jury instructions.


Counsel should file and serve lists of anticipated witnesses before trial and exchange other witness information in accordance with applicable statutes. Counsel must have witnesses ready to testify. A party whose witnesses are not ready will be deemed to have rested. Counsel must notify each other the night before of all witnesses expected to testify the following day.


All entrants into Department 13 are to treat each other with respect at all times. Counsel will argue to the Court, not to each other. Counsel will endeavor to accommodate each others’ schedules as long as doing so will not compromise a client’s legitimate and substantial interests.


Court begins promptly at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Counsel should be in court, ready to proceed at the appointed time. Client meetings and negotiations with opposing counsel must be handled before court.