Honorable Laurel S. Brady — Department 31

Biographical Information

  • Education: University of California, San Diego and graduated with a B.A. in History. Golden Gate School of Law.
  • Pre-bench Legal Experience: Law clerk, Marin Superior Court, Civil Law and Motion; Law clerk, California Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Section; Deputy District Attorney Contra Costa County 1989-1990; Deputy District Attorney Solano County 1990-1996.


Judicial Experience

10/1996-06/1998 Municipal Court, Richmond — appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson 06/1998 — present Superior Court — elevated by consolidation. Assignments included:

  • 10/1996 – 6/1998 Richmond Branch Court – Criminal & Civil Calendars
  • 06/1998 – 12/1999 Criminal Trials
  • 2000-2001 Criminal Calendar
  • 2002 Criminal Trials
  • 2001-2002 Assistant Presiding Judge and Criminal Trials
  • 2003-2004 Presiding Judge
  • 2005-2007 Criminal Trials
  • 2008-2009 Supervising Judge — Richmond Branch Court
  • 2010 Criminal Trials
  • 2011-2014 Civil Fast Track
  • 2015-2017 Criminal Trials, Veteran’s Treatment Court (2017)
  • 2018 Mental Health Court, Veteran’s Treatment Court
  • 2019 Criminal Trials, Veteran’s Treatment Court
  • 2020 Arraignment Court, Veteran’s Treatment Court


Pre-bench Civic & Professional Activities

District Manager for an office furniture manufacturer. Trade member of AIA, ASID.


Continuing Legal Education Faculty

  • Faculty member for Continuing Judicial Education and Research (CJER)
  • Certified Instructor for POST (Police Officers Standards and Training).
  • Has taught classes on evidence, legal motions, competence to stand trial.
  • 2021-present Mental Health Court, Veteran’s Treatment Court
  • Has sat on several education committees and acts as facilitator for various judicial training programs. For CJER (California Judges Education and Research) has sat variety of local court committees including Executive Committee, Budget Commitee, Operations & Security Commitee Bail Committee, Training Committee


Courtroom Policies

Judge Brady will rule from the bench or will issue written orders depending upon the circumstances. Her hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.



Heard in court.



Judge Brady prefers courtesy copies to be delivered to her chambers. She does not appreciate boiler-plate briefs, finding them to be less helpful.



Expects discovery disputes to be addressed early so as not to delay trial proceedings.


In Limine Motions

Normally heard prior to jury selection.


Voir Dire

Judge Brady does a general voir dire with prospective jurors. She allows and believes that attorneys should be permitted to interact with prospective jurors. Depending on the nature of the case, Judge Brady does impose time limitations.


Jury Instructions

Judge Brady requires attorneys to provide her with a checklist from CalCrim and for civil, CASI instructions and requires the checklist by the first or second day of trial. Any special instructions must be written.



Judge Brady requires a witness list prior to the start of trial.



In criminal cases, sanctions are not typically imposed. Judge Brady imposes sanctions under unusual circumstances (such as failure to comply with a direct court order or discovery order). Sanctions can be monetary or other.



For civil fastrack, attorneys must pre-mark exhibits and have exhibit log for clerk. For criminal, attorneys must confer with Courtroom Clerk.



Judge Brady expects professional courtesy to the court, opposing counsel and to all within the courtroom.


Court Reporters & Translators

In criminal cases, court reporters are mandated. Interpreters are mandated and provided for defendants but not for witnesses (this is the responsibility of the parties). The court provides the court reporter in criminal cases. For civil cases, parties must provide their own court reporters.


Computers in the Courtroom

Judge Brady welcomes the use of computers in the courtroom. Criminal cases, however, do not tend to be as high-tech in presentation as civil cases.



Judge Brady welcomes the use of audio-visual in her courtroom.


Cameras in the Courtroom

Cameras in the courtroom are within the discretion of the court. Judge Brady requires that counsel comply with notice requirements so that the propriety of cameras can be analyzed by the court beforehand.



Judge Brady recommends that attorneys be thoroughly prepared and familiar with their cases so they can anticipate issues that may suddenly arise. She also recommends that attorneys get as much training as they can, such as observing experienced attorneys to learn their techniques.

Updated: 3/23/2022