The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara (Court) has elected its new leadership for the 2017-18 term, with Assistant Presiding Judge Patricia Lucas elevated to Presiding Judge and Judge Deborah Ryan named new Assistant Presiding Judge.

“I am pleased to announce the selection of two exceptional individuals to lead our Court,” said Presiding Risë Pichon. “Presiding Judge-Elect Patricia Lucas is well known and respected for her superior intellect, warmth and pragmatism, and will serve this Court well as we advance our efforts to create a more efficient and accessible justice system here in Santa Clara County.”

The Court’s leadership transition will become effective on January 1, 2017.


Judge Patricia Lucas was first appointed to the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara County in 2002 and is currently the Assistant Presiding Judge. Judge Lucas was admitted to the Bar in 1979 and earned her Bachelor of Arts from Rice University and her Juris Doctor from University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall).

Judge Lucas is the current Chair of the Court’s Budget and Finance Committee and has served as Supervising Judge for both the Civil and Family divisions, in addition to her extensive experience in the Criminal division. Before being appointed to the Bench, Assistant Presiding Judge Lucas was in private practice and served as the Litigation Practice Leader for Fenwick and West.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Assistant Presiding Judge Lucas currently serves as Dean of the B.E. Witkin California Judicial College, and promotes education of the Bench and the Bar through leadership in the William A. Ingram American Inn of Court and as a long-term instructor for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.


Judge Deborah Ryan was first appointed to Santa Clara County Superior Court as a commissioner in 1999 and elevated to Superior Court Judge by the Governor in 2010. Currently, Judge Ryan is the Supervising Judge for the Criminal Division. Admitted to the Bar in 1977, Judge Ryan earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Davis and her Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University.

Before joining the Court, Judge Ryan was an attorney with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Agency, Office of the Public Defender and the Office of the County Counsel.

A resident of Santa Clara County since 1974, Judge Ryan has been involved in many community activities with an emphasis on legal education, including California Center for Judicial Education and Research, California Judges Association Executive Board and Ethics Committee – as well as taught extensively on California’s traffic laws and legal ethics.

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