Judge Rigali was born and raised in Torrance, California. He was awarded a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame in 1983. After enrolling in Santa Clara University's joint degree program Judge Rigali graduated from the Santa Clara University with both Law and MBA degrees in the late eighties. After employment for several years in Los Angeles where he was an employee of Burke, Williams and Sorensen, James Rigali married and moved to Santa Maria, California. There he practiced general civil law with the firm of Henbury & Rigali.
From 1994 to 2004 he was affiliated with the law firm of Kirk & Simas and his practice focused on real estate matters although his practice included estate litigation and general civil matters. As an active member of the Santa Maria community Judge Rigali was involved in a variety of non-profit organizations.
He and his wife are raising six children who were born in Santa Maria. Judge Rigali ascended to the bench on January 1, 2005, after winning a contested election vying for an open seat. In his first two years on the bench Judge Rigali has presided over hundreds of days of felony and misdemeanor jury trials.
Judge Rigali presides over
Dept. 2 in the Santa Maria