Judge Timothy Staffel was born on December 1, 1956 and grew up in the Lompoc Valley where he attended school, played youth baseball and graduated from Cabrillo High School. He received his B.A. degree in journalism and political science from San Diego State University in 1978. He also attended graduate school at San Diego State studying Public Finance. Judge Staffel received his J.D. degree from the University of the Pacific/ McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, graduating in 1985.
Judge Staffel was a daily newspaper reporter and sportswriter prior to embarking on his legal career. While a practicing attorney, Judge Staffel specialized in the field of civil litigation. In 1992, Judge Staffel was elected as Fourth District county Supervisor and represented the Santa Maria and Lompoc Valleys in that capacity from 1993-1998. He also served on the California Coastal Commission from 1995 through 1998. In June 1998, Governor Wilson appointed him to the Santa Barbara County Superior Court.