Barry LaBarbera elected presiding judge
January 26, 2016
San Luis Obispo County Superior Court judges voted last week to elect Barry LaBarbera as presiding judge and Ginger Garrett as assistant presiding judge. LaBarbera and Garret took over the positions immediately following the vote.
The election marked the second time in less than three months that San Luis Obispo judges voted on candidates to fill the positions. In November, the judges elected Martin Tangeman as presiding judge and LaBarbera as assistant presiding judge.
Tangeman was due to begin a two-year term as presiding judge on Jan. 1, but last month, Governor Jerry Brown appointed him to a state appellate court. A confirmation hearing for Tangeman’s appointment is scheduled for Feb. 22.
The California Rules of Court require courts that have two or more judges to elect a presiding judge. The presiding judge has the duties of leading the court, establishing policies and allocating resources in a manner that gives all members of the public access to justice.
Gov. Pete Wilson appointed LaBarbera to the bench in 1998. LaBarbera served as San Luis Obispo County’s district attorney in the 12 years prior to his appointment.
LaBarbera previously served as presiding judge in the years 2002-2003 and 2012-2013. In 2000-2001 and 2010-2011, he was the assistant presiding judge.
LaBarbera has a law degree from the University of San Diego. He has also worked as a California State Bar staff attorney and a deputy district attorney in Orange and San Luis Obispo counties.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Garrett to the bench in 2005. Garret moved to San Luis Obispo from Alabama in 1990 and established a private law practice. She became a court commissioner in 2002.
San Luis Obispo County Superior Court currently has 11 judges. It is expected to have two vacancies after the conversion of a commissioner position, as well as the appointment of Judge Gayle Peron and the appointment of Tangeman to the state appellate court.