Honorable Leonard E. Marquez — Department 34

Biographical Information

  • Education: University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, J.D.; Princeton University, A.B., Politics; Certificates in Political Theory and Medieval Studies.
  • Pre-bench Legal Experience: Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP; Partner, 2010 to 2018; Associate Attorney, 1999 to 2009
  • Representative Experience: In his former civil private practice, Judge Marquez represented clients in many areas of civil litigation, including contract and lease disputes, tort claims, and other business-related matters. His practice included a focus on landlord-tenant related matters, including breach of lease and tenant evictions.


Judicial Experience

Governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown, Jr. appointed Leonard E. Marquez as a Judge of the Contra Costa County Superior Court on February 27, 2018. He was sworn-in on April 5, 2018 by Presiding Judge Jill Fannin.

Upon his appointment, Judge Marquez had a general criminal assignment in the Pittsburg branch courthouse of the Contra Costa County Superior Court where he presided over matters such as misdemeanor jury trials, felony preliminary hearings, criminal law and motion and other criminal calendars. He then was assigned to the Richmond branch courthouse before his current Law Family Division assignment at the Spinetta Family Law Center in Martinez which began in January 2022.


Pre-bench Civic & Professional Activities

Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA)

  • Member (2011 to Present)
  • CCCBA Litigation Section Board Member (2012 to 2018)
  • CCCBA Litigation Section Co-Chair (2016 to 2017)
  • CCCBA Litigation Chair (2017 to 2018)
  • Civil Litigation Pro Per Clinic, Instructor (2012 to 2018)
  • Contra Costa Lawyer Magazine Editorial Board Member (2017 to 2018)

Alameda County Bar Association (ACBA)

  • Member (2000 to 2018)
  • Board of Directors (2017 to 2018)

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Contra Costa County (H5C)

  • Member (to 2018)
  • Board of Directors (2008 to 2015)
  • Chairman of Election Committee (2015)
  • Board Secretary and Member of Executive Committee (2011 to 2015)
  • Chairman of Festival of Latin Culture Committee (2011 to 2014)

California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce (CHCC)

  • Associate Director for Northern Region of California (2014 to 2018)
  • General Counsel (2016 to 2018)

Donald P. McCullum Youth Court

  • Past President, Board of Directors and Executive Committee (2009 to 2013)
  • Board of Directors (2007 to 2013)
  • Co-Chair of the Program Committee (2007 to 2009)
  • Volunteer / Judge (2001 to 2009)

Princeton Alumni Schools Committee (ASC)

  • Volunteer Undergraduate Admissions Interviewer for Princeton University (1997 to Present).

East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association

  • Member

Current Civic & Professional Activities

  • Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA)
  • Robert G. McGrath American Inn of Court
    Master (Judicial) Member (2018 to Present)
  • California Judges Association (CJA)
    Member (2018 to Present)
    Statewide CJA Judicial Outreach Committee (JOC) Member (2019 to Present)
    OC Committee Chair (2020 to 2021 and 2021 to 2022 Terms)
  • Princeton Alumni Schools Committee (ASC)

Prior Publications

  • Eviction Defense Manual, Chapter 19, Special Considerations Governing Evictions in Commercial Tenancies, California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), Contributing Update Author (2018)
  • Retail Leasing, Chapter 29, Defaults and Remedies, California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), Contributing Update Author (2008 to 2017)
  • Office Leasing, Chapter 27, Defaults and Remedies, California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), Contributing Update Author (2008 to 2017)

Typical weekly schedule

8:30 am to Noon and 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm (Monday through Friday)

Trials and Long Cause Hearings

Trials and Long Cause Hearings

8:30 am Short Cause Calendar (Self Represented Litigants)
1:30 pm Short Cause Calendar (Self Represented Litigants) [2nd , 4th and 5th Wednesdays Only]

8:30 am Short Cause Calendar (Attorney Represented Matters)
1:30 pm and 3:00 pm Mandatory Settlement Conferences (MSC) [2nd and 4th Thursdays, MSCs with Self Represented Litigants]

8:30 am Short Cause Calendar (Attorney Represented Matters)
1:30 pm and 3:00 pm Mandatory Settlement Conferences (MSC) [3rd Fridays, Contempt Calendar and Trial Readiness

Courtroom Policies

Compliance with Applicable Rules. All parties and attorneys are expected to strictly comply with all applicable court rules and procedures, including, but not limited to, the Code of Civil Procedure, the Family Code, the Court’s Local Rules, the California Rules of Court and any standing orders (the “Applicable Rules”).

Required “Meet and Confer.” All parties and attorneys are expected to abide by any meet and confer requirements set by the Applicable Rules. This includes the obligation to meet in confer, in good faith, on all requests for relief and related issues presented in any Request for Order, as required by Rule 5.98 of the California Rules of Court (“CRC”) and Rule 5.4 of the Court’s Local Rules. See CRC, Rule 5.98(a); Local Rule 5.4(a).

Attendance at Hearings. All parties and attorneys shall be present on time for all court sessions. All participants are responsible for ensuring that they have an adequate and functioning audio and video connection for any remote appearances on the Zoom® platform. Participants are encouraged to test their audio and video capabilities before the hearing. Participants in remote hearings should read and review the written admonishments displayed at the start of each remote hearing session and abide by them.

Timely Submission of Papers. All parties and attorneys shall submit any required pleadings, statements, briefs, submittals or other papers (“Required Papers”) within the time set by the Applicable Rules. The Court may, in its discretion, continue the matter or drop it from calendar if the Required Papers have not been timely filed. Parties and attorneys should avoid submitting any Required Papers by email to Department 34 in the absence of direction to do so by the Court. This includes, for example, submitting a Dissomaster printout by email to the department the day before a scheduled hearing. If additional time is needed to submit a new paper or exhibit, a continuance should ordinary be sought in order to, among other things, provide the other party a full and fair opportunity to receive and respond to such further submittal.

Dissomasters. Please do not submit standalone Dissomaster printouts to Department 34. All Dissomaster printouts should be attached to a pleading as an exhibit. Parties are encouraged to consider submitting any Dissomaster as an attachment to a short, concise pleading containing a description of the key inputs with reference to supporting evidence in any prior or concurrently submitted declaration or other pleadings.

Courtesy Copies. Submission of hard copy courtesy copies by drop box to Department 34 is encouraged. Please do not submit unfiled pleadings. Any courtesy copies provided should be file endorsed copies.

Stipulations and Agreed Upon Continuances. Where the parties or attorneys have fully resolved a matter set for hearing or jointly seek to continue a hearing by agreement, the parties or attorneys should notify the clerk in Department 34 promptly. Generally, this should be done no less than three (3) court days before the hearing. All such communications should be copied to the opposing party and contain an express representation as to the opposing side’s consent or be made by way of a joint letter request containing signatures by all parties or their counsel.

Imposition of Attorneys’ Fees and Costs as Sanctions. The failure to comply with the Applicable Rules may result in the imposition of sanctions against a party or their attorney. Parties and their attorneys are admonished that conduct which frustrates the policy of the law to promote resolution of litigation and to reduce the cost of litigation may result in an award of attorneys’ fees and costs being imposed against a party or attorney, including, but not limited to, pursuant to Family Code section 271, CRC Rule 5.14, and/or Code of Civil Procedure section 177.5.

Mandatory Settlement Conferences (MSC)

All parties and attorneys are expected to review and abide by all Applicable Rules in connection with any set Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC), including, but not limited to, Rule 5.7 of the Court’s Local Rules. See Local Rule 5.7. The Court will ordinary not proceed with a scheduled MSC where one or other of the parties has failed to timely file and serve the Required Papers and/or has failed to exchange the required written offers of settlement. See Local Rule 5.7(b)(1).


The Court encourages parties and their counsel to consider and participate in any and all forms of alternate dispute resolution (ADR) appropriate to the pending case and the issues in it. This includes private mediation where feasible on disputed issues in addition to any court provided ADR.

Standing Order for Trials and Long Cause Hearings

Attorneys and self represented litigants should obtain and review the Court’s standing order for trials (and long cause hearings) and strictly comply with the requirements and deadlines set forth therein as well as any other Applicable Rules. If you do not have a copy, a copy can be obtained by contacting Department 34’s clerk. Contact information is maintained on the Court’s website (www.cc-courts.org).

Witness Testimony

All parties and attorneys shall comply with all Applicable Rules regarding the presentation of live witness testimony at any court hearing or trial, including, but not limited to, the filing and service of any required witness list and the exchange of witness information. It is the responsibility of any party or attorney seeking to offer such testimony to plan for the presentation of the testimony and to schedule witnesses accordingly.

All parties and attorneys are advised that while the Court may, in its discretion, permit or solicit live witness testimony during a short cause calendar, the parties and attorneys should be aware of and follow the procedures set forth in Family Code section 217 and other Applicable Rules if live testimony is anticipated to be presented. See Fam. Code § 217; see also CRC Rule 5.113.

Please be aware that, in many circumstances, a request to present live witness testimony may result in the matter being continued to a long cause hearing date because all matters set on a short cause calendar are limited to 20 minutes of hearing time. See Local Rule 5.4(b) and (c). Depending on the number of matters on calendar or other factors, the Court may, in its discretion, permit more time for a short cause matter.


All parties and attorneys are expected to conduct themselves with dignity and decorum at all times. Disruptive behavior or uncivil conduct are not acceptable. Parties and attorneys shall not interrupt each other or the Court when the other party or the Court are speaking. This is among the most important of the hearing decorum expectations enforced in Department 34. All remarks should be addressed to the Court rather than to the opposing party or attorney unless the Court invites the parties to confer directly on a matter. The courtroom is not a forum for the parties to argue between themselves. Neither attorneys nor any party should indicate approval, disapproval, or otherwise react to any testimony or argument in a distracting or discourteous manner. Attorneys are admonished to read and adhere to the “Standards of Professional Courtesy” set forth in the Court’s local rules. See Local Rule 2.90 et al.

Court Reporters and Interpreters

Parties should follow all Applicable Rules and practices with respect to arranging for court reporting and interpreter services. If you wish to avoid the possibility of having a matter continued due to the lack of court reporter, the parties should confer in advance on and arrange for the appearance of a private court reporter (or have one on phone standby) if the parties are not otherwise agreeable to proceed without a reporter.

Further Advice, Tips and Best Practices for Appearances in Department 34

Practice Civility and Do Not Make Personal Attacks. All parties and attorneys should be mindful of the importance of maintaining a courteous and civil demeanor, as addressed above. Interrupting and aggressively “talking over” other attorneys is not acceptable. Counsel should avoid ad hominim arguments directed at the other party or attorney as opposed to the arguments they make or the evidence they present. This includes the casual attribution of supposed intentions or motives to the other party or attorney in making your arguments (c.f. “Counsel wants to mislead the Court …” versus “Counsel’s argument is misleading because…”). Of course, there may be times where an argument is expressly directed at assertions of misconduct on the part of the other party or attorney. However, those assertions should not be leveled lightly and should be expressly advocated with reference to supporting evidence and handled in an objectively professional manner.

Listen to the Questions Asked. At oral argument on the short cause calendar, the Court’s practice is often ask questions of the parties and attorneys and to work to frame particular issues for discussion in an organized fashion to the extent possible. It is helpful when parties and attorneys listen carefully as the oral arguments progress so that the Court can focus the discussion on the most salient considerations as to which the Court is seeking clarification, input and argument. The Court will nonetheless make reasonable efforts—consistent with the need to handle a high volume calendar—to hear out additional matters a party or attorney may wish to address during the course of a hearing. However, be please mindful and respectful of the Court’s efforts to move through the issues in a structured way and to address the points of particular concern.

Be Clear about the Relief Requested. Do not make the Court look in multiple places to decipher the relief you are seeking. For example, it is confusing and unhelpful if your Request for Order (FL-300) lists three things you are seeking and then the attached “declaration” makes references to two more things not referenced in the RFO. While it may be appropriate to summarize the requests in the FL-300 form and then address the requests in more detail in attachments, the summary in the FL-300 should, at minimum, bullet point each and every item of affirmative relief you are requesting. And, if that that is truly too lengthy to summarize in the FL-300, then a reference should be made to the attachment where such relief is described. The attachment should address the relief requested in a clear way, preferably at the outset. You should certainly avoid making reference to further affirmative relief buried in the body of several pages of argument or factual narration.

Be Concise in the Presentation of Your Arguments. You should likewise be concise and organized in the presentation of your arguments. Sometimes litigants will put a portion of the argument in a Responsive Declaration and then address different arguments in a separate pleading like a Memorandum of Points and Authorities. Structuring your papers that way is fine if the Responsive Declaration is merely a brief summary of the points and the separate pleading contains the full, detailed arguments and supporting authorities. It is not helpful however, if the Responsive Declaration contains part of the argument and the other pleading addresses different or further arguments. Another, and perhaps worst, offense is interweaving argument (and even legal citations!) into a declaration by a party submitted under penalty of perjury.

Avoid Issue Sprawl. The Court is mindful of avoiding the unchecked “sprawl” of issues and requests for orders or relief in the course of the litigation of a filed Request for Order. While the Court may certainly have discretion to consider matters which arise during the course of litigation for various reasons, as a general rule, litigation on an RFO is controlled by the affirmative relief actually requested in that RFO or appropriately raised by the Responsive Declaration. See Fam. Code § 213. Raising a new request for further affirmative relief in a “supplemental” declaration, especially late in the proceedings, will rarely be appropriate and should be avoided absent good faith grounds to do so and controlling authority permitting it. This not merely procedural fussiness. There are due process issues associated with last minute requests cropping up without proper notice and the practice circumvents important requirements in the life cycle of an RFO such as the requirement for the parties to meet and confer on the issue before resorting to contested litigation and argument in court.

Avoid Unnecessarily Large or Convoluted Motion or Trial Exhibits. Unless there is a compelling and thoughtful reason for doing so, multiple documents should not be lumped into a single motion or trial exhibit. For example, while having a single related email “chain” in one exhibit may be justifiable, a forty page exhibit with multiple, sporadic emails and different threads is to be avoided. Certainly do not mix documents together that are independent, standalone documents (for example including a letter, a separate email and a copy of a bank statement together in one exhibit even if “thematically related” on some level.). There are, of course, reasonable exceptions, but consider them thoughtfully (for example, it may well make sense to include a summary sheet as a demonstrative exhibit with dollar figure totals for a series of invoices that follow behind in the same exhibit tab). Of course, comply with any Applicable Rules relating to the length of papers or exhibits.

Be Careful and Conservative When Drafting Orders after Hearing. Be mindful that an attorney’s role in preparing a proposed order after hearing is to memorialize the orders made by the court. Adding additional substantive provisions not ordered is to be carefully avoided. Please make every effort to ensure that orders are timely circulated for approval after the hearing per the Applicable Rules and thereafter submitted to the Court. Typically, submission of orders should happen in a matter of a couple of weeks at most, not months.

Proposed Form of Order. When submitting proposed orders, please fill in the following at item 1 on the Judicial Council form Findings and Order after Hearing (FL-340): “Hon. Leonard E. Marquez” (as opposed to “Leonard Marquez” or “Judge Marquez” or “L. Marquez” or “Marquez”).