Judge Dana M. Sabraw - The Importance of an Independent Judiciary
Time & Location
About the Event
Judge Dana Makoto Sabraw
Judge Dana M. Sabraw was nominated to the United States District Court, Southern District of California, on May 1, 2003, by President George W. Bush. He was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on September 25, 2003. He previously served as a Superior Court judge for the County of San Diego from 1998 to 2003.
Judge Sabraw was born in the Bay Area, and raised in Sacramento, California. He graduated from San Diego State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science with distinction in Criminal Justice Administration. Thereafter, he attended McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific in Sacramento, where he graduated in the top 10% of his class and served on the Law Review.
Following his graduation from law school in 1985, Judge Sabraw practiced at Price, Postel & Parma in Santa Barbara, California, as a commercial litigator. From 1989 to 1995, Judge Sabraw practiced with Baker & McKenzie in San Diego, becoming a partner in 1992. He represented clients in commercial litigation in state trial and appellate courts and federal district and circuit courts, in matters including securities, class action defense, environmental issues, contracts, insurance, and real estate.
In 1995, Judge Sabraw was appointed to San Diego's North County Municipal Court. He served as Presiding Judge of the Municipal Court until Governor Pete Wilson elevated him to the Superior Court in November 1998. While on the Superior Court, Judge Sabraw served as Criminal Supervising Judge, presided over felony jury trials, including capital cases, and served as an independent civil calendar judge, where he managed a calendar of more than 700 cases from initial filing through trial, including medical and legal malpractice, insurance coverage, torts, employment law, product liability, intellectual property, real property, eminent domain, contract, and consumer disputes.
As a district judge, Judge Sabraw presides over approximately 600 criminal and civil cases. His criminal calendar includes narcotics trafficking, alien smuggling and related immigration matters, firearms, mail, wire, security, tax and bankruptcy fraud, money laundering, bank robbery, and other crimes of violence. His civil calendar includes patent, trademark and copyright matters, antitrust, civil rights and other constitutional claims, labor, social security, and a variety of state law claims.
As a trial lawyer and judge, Judge Sabraw has tried over 300 cases to verdict.
Judge Sabraw currently serves as Chair of the Patent Advisory Committee for the Southern District of California, which is responsible for promulgating local rules of practice for patent cases before the district court. He also serves as a member of the Judicial Conference Committee on the Judicial Branch at the request of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Judicial Branch Committee advises the Chief Justice and the Executive Committee of the United States Courts on matters relating to the judiciary, including judicial pay and benefits, health and wellness, ethics and discipline, civics education, and Congressional relations.
Judge Sabraw has been active in a number of professional organizations. He is a founding member and former president of two American Inns of Court in San Diego. He has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, San Diego Chapter, and is a current member, and past board member, of the Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego. He serves on the Criminal Justice Memorial Committee of San Diego, which selects and honors attorneys who have made significant contributions to the criminal justice system. He also serves on the founding committee for Just the Beginning–A Pipeline Organization, a program which targets under-represented communities to introduce high school students to the legal profession and mentors in the law.
Judge Sabraw is a frequent speaker at law and community related events, and is particularly involved with programs that promote diversity and inclusion. Judge Sabraw has received numerous awards from the community and bar associations. He was selected as Outstanding Jurist by the San Diego County Bar Association in 2019, the Person of the Year by the San Diego Union Tribune editorial board in 2018, and Judge of the Year by Consumer Attorneys of San Diego in 2018. He also received the 2005 Trailblazer Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
Judge Sabraw is married and has three children. His wife is the elected District Attorney for the County of San Diego.