Judge de Bellefeuille
the Santa Barbara Juvenile Court
Judge Denise de Bellefeuille
Judge Denise de Bellefeuille (pronounced de Bell fay) was appointed to the Santa Barbara Municipal Court by Governor Pete Wilson on February 11, 1994. When the Municipal and Superior Courts consolidated in 1998 she became a Superior Court judge by operation of law, and transferred from a criminal department to the newly formed civil division of the court, where she has remained ever since, presiding over general civil, limited civil and family law matters.
The Santa Barbara Superior Court employs a “direct set” system of case management, rather than a master calendar approach. The South County (Santa Barbara proper) Civil Division judges each have a different day of the week for their respective law and motion calendars: Judge de Bellefeuille’s falls on Thursday. She employs a tradition of trying jury trials on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with law and motion Thursday morning and all short cause court trials Thursday afternoons and all day Friday. If you have a jury trial in her department you will be treated to Mrs. Andersen’s apple strudel each Wednesday morning throughout the trial.
Since 2002 Judge de Bellefeuille has served as an instructor for CJER (California Judicial Education and Research), teaching ethics to new judges. She currently serves on the California Judges Association’s Ethics Committee. She is one of the founders of the William L. Gordon Chapter of the American Inns of Court, a national organization of judges and lawyers devoted to civility in the practice of law. In her spare time she is a community advisor to the Junior League of Santa Barbara and sits on the board of directors for City @ Peace, a theatre arts program for youth that teaches conflict resolution and mediation skills.
She was awarded the Anti-Defamation League’s 2005 Distinguished Community Service Award (along with her colleague Judge George Eskin), and received the Justice Richard W. Abbe Humanitarian Award in 2008 from the Santa Barbara County Bar Association. She is happily married to Judge James Edward Herman, who will always remain the junior judge in the household, as his appointment to the bench came in 2005.