Honorable Terri Mockler — Department 27

Biographical Information

  • Education: UC Berkeley, BS in Sociology; Hastings College of Law, JD
  • Pre-bench Legal Experience: 29 years as a public defender, 27 of those in Contra Costa County. For the last 3 years, was a manager supervising both attorneys and non-attorney support staff.
  • Political Affiliation: Democrat


Judicial Experience

Currently assigned to the Criminal Fast-Track Department in Martinez.


Pre-bench Civic & Professional Activities

Mentors at-risk teenage girles through Contra Costa County Probation Department.
High school Mock Trial coach for 10 years. For the last several years has been an attorney scorer in the county finals.


Current Civic & Professional Activities

  • Took a training course in teaching English as a Second Language and tutored Afghan women in English.
  • On the Boards of Contra Costa Court Scholarship Fund and Richmond High School Law Academy.
  • Member – California Judges Association; Robert McGrath Inns of Court


Typical weekly schedule

Daily preside over a high volume criminal calendar.


Courtroom Policies

Rules from the bench but may take a recess to research an issue. Rarely take legal issues under submission for any lengthy period.



Not instituted.



Should be in writing, including motions to continue trials.



Must comply with local rules.



Encourage parties to work out as much as possible before requesting court intervention.


Settlement Conferences

Current assignment is in criminal. Limited to what she can say/do to resolve a case.



Not applicable to current judicial assignment.


In Limine Motions

In writing, at time trial assigned to her department.


Voir Dire

Court does fairly in-depth questioning. Each attorney gets 15 minutes to voir dire first 18 called. Attorneys should not repeat court’s questions.


Jury Instructions

Submitted in writing, prefer them in the beginning of trial.



No gum chewing, no sunglasses unless there is a medical necessity.



Won’t rule out sanctions but would prefer to resolve conflicts/issues well before the point when one side is requesting sanctions.



Should be shown to opposing counsel well in advance of introduction as evidence or referenced by a witness.



Respect each other, the court and all in the courtroom.


Court Reporters & Translators

Communicate with Judge Mockler about what works and what doesn’t work.


Computers in the Courtroom

Judge Mockler loves them but must bring your own.



Parties should bring their own equipment. The Richmond Court in particular does not have much in the way of cutting edge technology.


Cameras in the Courtroom

Generally will not be allowed. Judge Mockler will give proponent a fair hearing on the issue after receiving written briefs.



Judge Mockler treats all parties equally and with respect. She expects attorneys appearing before her to do the same.