YREKA – JoAnn M. Bicego was recently named Siskiyou
County's newest Superior Court judge by California Gov. Jerry Brown.
The 53-year-old Bicego hails from Yreka
and has been serving as a Siskiyou County Superior Court commissioner
since 2009. Brown, a Democrat, appointed Bicego to the bench to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Donald
Bicego is one of 22 judges Brown
appointed to superior court benches throughout California. The
governor also nominated three judges for promotion to the Fourth and
Fifth District Courts of Appeals. California has 58 trial, or
superior courts, serving the state's roughly 34 million residents.
Bicego started her legal career in San
Francisco, working on civil litigation defense with an emphasis on
products liability and medical products and blood products defense.
She has worked in public service for more than a decade.
“In 2006, I took a job as a deputy county counsel," Bicego told the Northern California Record. "I provided legal advice to numerous county
departments, the board of supervisors, and various school districts
and special districts. I handled county contracts,
claims and litigation, and a wide variety of legal issues, ranging
from land use to elections to transportation – virtually any and
every kind of legal issue that can arise in a small rural county.”
Siskiyou County is in the
northernmost area of California and is home to nearly 45,000
residents. Bicego was a court commissioner for seven and a half years
before being appointed to the bench. As a court commissioner, she
handled a variety of cases.
“My assignments included criminal
misdemeanor, infraction and juvenile calendars; child support and
family law calendars, including guardianships and requests for
restraining orders, small claims and unlawful detainers,” she said.
“I also frequently filled in on the civil, probate and
conservatorship calendars. We are in the process of determining
judicial assignments, but I anticipate continuing to handle a variety
Bicego earned her law degree from the
University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and an
undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa
Barbara, according to a statement from Brown's office.
Bicego acknowledges the unique
challenges and opportunity facing judges in small towns, and is ready
to embrace her new role.
“Being a judge in a small town is
different in some respects than being a judge in a big city,” Bicego said. “The people I see in court are often the same ones I see at
a grocery store, restaurant or church. I recognize that I’m a
reflection of the court and justice system wherever I go. That can be
a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity to educate and inform
people about the judicial branch. My husband, in addition to being an
attorney, has served on the Yreka City Council and is a volunteer
firefighter. We are both active in and supportive of various service,
community, arts and veterans groups, and I’m very honored and
privileged to now serve as a judge.”
Bicego is registered without party
preference. Compensation for her position is $191,612, according to
the governor's office.