Judge Truc T. Do has quickly risen through the ranks of the California judiciary, becoming one of the state’s leading Asian American judges. After early careers as a prosecutor and big firm attorney, Do was appointed to the San Diego County Superior Court in 2018. Just two years later, she was elevated to the prestigious California 4th District Court of Appeal. Do made history with that appointment as the first Asian American woman on the Court of Appeal for the 4th District. After sailing through a retention election in November 2022, Do seems poised to have an influential judicial career shaping California law.
Education and Early Legal Career
Truc Do graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with her bachelor’s degree. She then attended the elite Stanford Law School, receiving her Juris Doctor degree.
After completing law school, Do took a position in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She would spend a decade there serving as a prosecutor and deputy district attorney. This gave Do significant trial and courtroom experience at the start of her legal career.
In 2009, Do entered private practice by becoming a partner at the prestigious law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson. She spent five years there focused on complex civil litigation. Do then moved to another top firm, Jones Day, serving as partner from 2014 to 2018. Her time in Big Law allowed Do to work on high-profile cases and hone her skills as an appellate attorney.
Judgeship on San Diego Superior Court
In 2018, Do was appointed to the Superior Court of San Diego County by Governor Jerry Brown. She filled a vacancy created by a retiring judge.
During her time on the trial court bench, Do presided over criminal, civil, and family law cases. She handled several notable matters, including:
- A dispute over Newport Banning Ranch development project
- The high profile trial of David Mikkelson, co-founder of fact-checking site Snopes
- A lawsuit brought by owners of nursing homes related to COVID-19 policies
Do developed a reputation for efficiently managing her docket and court, along with displaying strong legal knowledge and judgement. She also demonstrated an even-keeled demeanor in sometimes contentious trials.
Elevation to California Court of Appeal
After just two years on the Superior Court, Do was elevated to the California Court of Appeal. In December 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed her to fill a vacancy on the 4th Appellate District, Division One. She succeeded the retiring Justice Gilbert Nares.
Do’s quick appointment to the appeals court was historic, as she became the first Asian American woman to serve on the Court of Appeal for the 4th District. The 4th District hears appeals from San Diego and Imperial County cases.
Do officially assumed her seat on the appellate bench in January 2021. Her term runs for 6 years from that start date until January 2027.
2022 Retention Election
As with all California appellate justices, Do had to stand for retention election at the first general election following her appointment. This vote took place on November 8, 2022.
Do did not draw any formal opponents and won retention comfortably with 60.5% of the vote. This allowed her to remain on the 4th District Court of Appeal for a full term.
Judicial Philosophy and Approach
As a new appellate justice, Do’s judicial philosophy is still emerging. However, some cornerstones stand out:
- Belief in impartial, unbiased rulings based on the law and facts alone
- Commitment to fairness, justice, and integrity in the judicial system
- Respect for precedent and higher court rulings
- Pragmatic approach focused on impact of decisions
Observers have noted Do’s meticulous preparation, active engagement during oral arguments, and thoughtful questioning of attorneys. She demonstrates patience and willingness to consider nuanced points of law. Her opinion writing is marked by clarity and precision.
Impact and Legacy
Truc Do’s rapid ascent to the Court of Appeal is significant for Asian American judicial representation. With her historic appointment, Do provides a role model and inspiration for a new generation of Asian American lawyers and judges.
At just 48 years old, Do could serve several decades on the appellate bench. If she continues her strong performance, Do may be elevated to higher judicial offices. Positions like the California Supreme Court or Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals are potential future paths.
More broadly, Do is shaping California jurisprudence through her appellate rulings. She will tackle complex legal issues related to technology, business, criminal justice, and more. Do has the opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the state.
In just a few short years, Truc Do has gone from a Superior Court judge to a prominent California Court of Appeal justice. Her brilliant legal career, barrier-breaking appointments, and young age indicate Do may be poised for an influential long-term judicial tenure. While questions remain about her full judicial philosophy, Do’s commitment to fairness and justice is clear. Her story exemplifies the increasing diversity of voices now shaping the California judiciary.
Q: When was Truc Do appointed to the California 4th District Court of Appeal?
A: Truc Do was appointed to the California 4th District Court of Appeal by Governor Gavin Newsom in December 2020.
Q: What historic first did Truc Do’s appointment represent?
A: Truc Do became the first Asian American woman ever appointed to serve on the California 4th District Court of Appeal.
Q: How long is the term for California Court of Appeal justices?
A: Justices on the California Court of Appeal serve 6-year terms between retention elections. Truc Do’s current term runs from 2021 to 2027.
Q: What previous judicial experience did Truc Do have before becoming an appellate justice?
A: Truc Do served as a judge on the San Diego County Superior Court from 2018 to 2021 immediately before her elevation to the Court of Appeal.
Q: What was the result of Truc Do’s 2022 retention election?
A: Truc Do won retention to the California 4th District Court of Appeal in November 2022, receiving 60.5% of the vote to remain on the court.