Honorable Jill Fannin — Department 21


Biographical Information

  • Education: B.A. at UC Berkeley in Business Administration; JD at UC Hastings.
  • Pre-bench Legal Experience: The Judge was in private practice in Walnut Creek and San Francisco from 1987 to 2000. She was a mediator from 2000 until her appointment to the bench.
  • Political Affiliation: Democrat


Judicial Experience

Appointed to the bench in April 2003 by Governor Gray Davis, the Judge initially served at the Richmond branch of the Contra Costa County Superior Court before moving to the Martinez branch in December 2003.

The Judge began her service hearing limited jurisdiction civil matters, criminal misdemeanor trials, preliminary hearings, law and motion matters, pretrial conferences, arraignments, and Prop 36 hearings. In January 2006, she began her present assignment in Juvenile Court, where she presides in delinquency, dependency, adoptions and emancipation cases.

Presiding Judge 2017.


Pre-bench Civic & Professional Activities

Among her pre-bench activities, the Judge was President of the Women’s Section of the Contra Costa County Bar Association. She participated in the Robert G. McGrath Inns of Court, and was also a member of California Woman Lawyers and Consumer Attorneys of California.


Current Civic & Professional Activities

She is presently Counselor for the local Inns of Court.


Continuing Legal Education Faculty

The Judge has taught CLE courses on class actions, discovery, and Alternative Dispute Resolution. In addition, she now serves on the faculty for the New Judges Orientation.


Courtroom Policies

Judge Fannin generally rules from the bench.



Briefing is encouraged. The Judge does not like “boilerplate” briefs but on important issues any brief is preferable to none. Make your briefs succinct, with proper authorities cited in support of legal argument.


Settlement Conferences

Settlement is always encouraged and personally conducted. Parties need only advise the Judge that they would like to conference the case before it is called and it will be discussed in the Judge’s chambers. Early, pretrial conferencing is encouraged.



Mediation in dependency cases by juvenile lawyers/mediators is to occur before jurisdictional hearings.



The Judge appreciates the exchange of witness lists and offers of proofs before contests.



Sanctions are a valid tool and definitely are used for serious and repeat violators.



Exhibits should be pre-marked.



The Judge would like to thank attorneys for almost universally understanding the importance of acting courteously and professionally.


Court Reporters & Translators

The court provides interpreters for minors and parties.


Computers in the Courtroom

Table laptops are permitted.



There is courtroom capability for DVDs and videos.


Cameras in the Courtroom

Cameras are not allowed in juvenile matters, except for adoptions.



Counsel should meet and confer before contests to accurately assess time estimates and availability. Counsel should be prepared to proceed as scheduled. If counsel is delayed by conflict in another courtroom, a telephone call advising the court of this and the ETA is appreciated.


Pet Peeves

Counsel renewing argument after the matter is submitted.