Honorable Theresa Canepa — Department 35

Biographical Information

  • Education: University of California, Davis; BA in English – University of Santa Clara; JD
  • Pre-bench Legal Experience: 1983 – 1990, Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, Deputy District Attorney; 1990 – 2002, Assistant United States Attorney (San Francisco and Oakland); 1994 -1998, Deputy Chief of the Drug Task Force; 1998 – 2002 Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force.
  • Political Affiliation: Independent


Judicial Experience

Appointed by Governor Gray Davis in May, 2002, and sworn in on June 28, 2002. Began judicial experience in Department 35 of the Pittsburg Branch of the Superior Court (July 1st- December 13th), and moved to the Mt. Diablo Branch of the Superior Court on December 16th, 2002. Felony trial judge 2008-2011; Supervising Judge, Richmond, 2011-2012; Supervising Judge, Pittsburg, 2012-2013. Currently hearing felony trials, Martinez.


Civic & Professional Activities

  • Member of St. Monica’s Catholic church in Moraga
  • Member of Fratellanza Club, Oakland
  • Member of the Italian Catholic Federation, Crockett
  • Member of Galileo Club, Richmond


Important Cases

Cunningham v. California; People v. Cujina; People v. Bonetta/Wilen


Courtroom Policies

Judge Canepa rules from the bench, unless supplemental briefing is needed.



This issue has not occurred in her courtroom, as it is customary for all parties to be present. If the need arises, she will allow it.



They must be briefed by both parties within appropriate time limits.



They must provide a clear factual statement and arguments must be supported by legal authority. “Boilerplate” motions are discouraged.



Discovery must be provided in accordance with local rules and statutory authority.


In Limine Motions

The court encourages motions in limine in advance of trial in order to streamline the proceedings.


Voir Dire / Jury Instrucdtions

The court conducts a general voir dire and then allows counsel a limited period of time to conduct a more specific voir dire.



All witness lists must be provided to court and counsel in advance of voir dire.



Sanctions will be imposed if necessary.



All documents must be pre-marked and shown to opposing counsel before being shown to any witness.



Attorneys should conduct themselves in a professional, respectful and courteous manner at all times.


Court Reporters & Translators

Judge Canepa has an assigned court reporter.

Translators are called on an as-needed basis. The most frequent language translated is Spanish.


Computers/Audio-Visual in the Courtroom

Although no one has requested additional technology in her courtroom, the court would permit it.


Cameras in the Courtroom

The court does not allow cameras in the courtroom.



She finds that the most effective attorneys are those who are prompt, well-organized, and clear and concise in their factual presentations and arguments.