USD Law Alumnus David J. Danielsen ‘77 (JD) To Lead San Diego Superior Court

Judge David J. Danielsen '77 (JD)

San Diego (November 7, 2013) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law alumnus Judge David J. Danielsen, '77 (JD), was elected by his fellow judges to serve as presiding judge of the San Diego Superior Court for a two-year term starting January 1, 2014. Danielsen, who has served as the assistant presiding judge since 2012, will succeed the current Presiding Judge Robert J. Trentacosta, '79 (JD), who finishes his term of office on December 31, 2013.

San Diego Superior Court judges have also elected Judge Jeffrey B. Barton, ‘81 (JD), to serve as assistant presiding judge. Barton is currently the supervising judge of San Diego Superior Court’s Civil Division.

“Access to impartial justice is a core American value,” says Judge Danielsen. “In these troubled economic times, our court has struggled to cope with severe budget cuts. We will continue to advocate for adequate funding and to adapt our court through creative thinking and innovation. We will endeavor to deliver the access to quality justice that our community deserves.”

For the next two years, Danielsen assumes the judicial leadership role in the oversight and management the San Diego Superior Court, its 154 judicial officers, over 1,200 employees, and a court budget of more than $172 million. He will work closely with the chief executive officer and his management team along with an executive committee of Superior Court judges.

A San Diego judge for twenty-three years, Danielsen brings a wealth of judicial experience to the position having served in many assignments including two terms as the Supervising Judge of the Criminal Courts.

Danielsen graduated from Dartmouth College and received his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. Prior to joining the bench, Danielsen practiced as a civil trial lawyer for 13 years and was a partner in a private law firm in San Diego.

The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) honored Danielsen as a litigator by electing him to membership. He has played an active role in leadership positions in judicial and legal groups in California over his career, including a memorable tour as the president of the California Judges Association (1999-2000). Additionally, Danielsen has been selected to teach a number of courses regularly for many years to California judges throughout the state including serving as faculty at the California Judicial College.

Read press release on Superior Court website.

About Superior Court of San Diego County

The Superior Court in San Diego County is part of the California trial court system, the largest of its kind in the world with 58 trial courts throughout the state. San Diego is the second largest court system in the state.

Superior Courts in California have authority over civil, criminal, family law, family support, juvenile court, landlord/tenant dispute, mental health, non-traffic infraction, probate, small claims, and traffic cases.

A presiding judge, who receives policy advice from an executive committee of judges, manages each trial court in California. Elected by fellow judges, the presiding judge serves a two-year term.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Recognized for the excellence of its faculty, curriculum and clinical programs, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law enrolls approximately 900 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law, and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 81 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 23rd worldwide in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


Patrick Riedling
(619) 260-4207


Contact Us

Phone: (619) 260-4527

View Directory

83° 61°

Visit Campus

Warren Hall, Room 201
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110