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Judge Patricia L. Kelly graduated from the California State University, Northridge in 1990 with a B.A. in Political Science. She then attended Pepperdine University's School of Law, graduating in 1994.

Judge Kelly began her legal career as a deputy district attorney for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office in their Eastern Division (Indio). In 2005, she relocated and took a position as a deputy district attorney for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office (North County). In both offices, Judge Kelly prosecuted gang and major narcotics cases for the majority of her career.

Judge Kelly was appointed to the Superior Court bench by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in August of 2010. Currently, she is assigned to a direct criminal calendar in Department 6 of the Santa Maria Division, handling felony and misdemeanor trials. Her previous assignments have included criminal arraignments, small claims and minor offenses.

In 2015, Judge Kelly was unanimously elected by her colleagues to the position of Assistant Presiding Judge and served as Presiding Judge of the Superior Court from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018. She was the first woman to hold this position in the history of the court.

In addition, she is a member of the Judicial Council's Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee and was previously a member of the Court Security Advisory Committee. Judge Kelly is also a member of the California Judges Association and currently serves on the Ethics Committee.

Miller Division


Judge Kelly presides over
Dept. SM6 in the Santa Maria
Miller Division.

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