A well-known San Diego Superior Court jurist has retired. Judge Kerry Wells stepped down in July after serving more than 15 years on the bench. Appointed to the Superior Court in January 2003 by Governor Gray Davis, Judge Wells was recognized nationwide for her prosecutorial expertise and lecturing in the area of domestic violence and stalking. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Wells worked for more than 20 years as a prosecutor; first in the San Diego City Attorney’s Office and then with the San Diego District Attorney’s Office.

Many San Diegans may remember her prosecutorial work in one of San Diego’s most high profile cases: the 1991 prosecution of Elizabeth “Betty” Broderick who was charged with murdering her ex-husband and his wife after stalking them for several years. The case received national attention and was one of the first cases to be covered live, gavel-to-gavel, by Court TV.

During her time on the bench, Judge Wells handled a wide variety of criminal cases, from misdemeanor to capital homicide, and most recently was the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court’s Appellate Division.

“Whether working as a prosecutor or as a judge, Kerry Wells brought to the job an unyielding commitment to justice. She is a woman of strong convictions with a keen sense of fairness. Judge Wells will be missed by all of us at the San Diego Superior Court”, says Presiding Judge Peter Deddeh.

“Having worked steadily for the past 38 years in the legal field I have great respect for the lawyers and judges who are “in the trenches” on a daily basis, passionately fighting the good fight for justice. I will surely miss them. I feel that I almost grew up in San Diego courtrooms – starting out as a “baby” attorney who could hardly formulate a coherent question to a witness. Over the years, I raised my family, made invaluable friends, and grew as a practitioner so that I could, hopefully, have a positive impact on the lawyers and litigants who appeared in front of me. Lawyers in my family include my father, brother, husband and son. I suspect the law will always be an influence in my life,” says Judge Wells.

A graduate of the University of Arizona with a bachelor of science degree, Judge Wells earned a juris doctorate degree, magna cum laude, from Whittier School of Law, where she was third in her class and a member of the Law Review. She says she looks forward to this next phase in her life. “In retirement I hope to focus on my health and get back to playing the piano and writing music. I have a feeling my 7 grandchildren will be keeping me pretty busy as well.”

Categorized in: