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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election

Alameda County Superior CourtCandidate for Judge, Seat 11

Photo of Karen Katz

Karen Katz

Retired Public Defender
100,408 votes (36.02%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Pre-trial detention should be reserved for people who are dangerous to the community.
  • Administer justice fairly by providing a level playing field regardless of race or economic status. Treat litigants, lawyers and the public with respect.
  • Work to establish a restorative justice court for adults in Alameda County.



Profession:Retired public defender
Deputy Public Defender, Alameda County Office of the Public Defender (1986–2016)


UC Hastings J.D. (1985)
UC Santa Cruz B.A. with Honors, American Studes (1982)

Community Activities

Member, Temple Sinai (2004–current)
Member, Alameda County Bar Association (1993–current)


I was raised in New York City and went to Hunter College High School.  I graduated at sixteen and left college at seventeen.  At twenty, I got on a bus and moved to California.  I knew some woodworking so I joined the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners as an apprentice.  I was the only woman in the local.  I think I was also the first.   Eventually I returned to college and then went on to UC Hastings.  After graduation, I went to work at the Alameda County Office of the Public Defender, where I stayed for thirty years.  I have lived in Alameda County for twenty-five years.  My twin boys went to Oakland public schools K-12.  I was an active parent volunteer.  After my retirement in June of 2016 I tutored reading in East Oakland and coached high school mock trial.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • East Bay Express
  • Asian American Criminal Trial Lawyers' Association
  • Our Revolution - East Bay (formerly Berkeley for Bernie)

Organizations (1)

  • Public Defender Chapter of Local 21, IFPTE

Elected Officials (1)

  • Kate Harrison, Council Member, Berkeley City Council, District 4

Individuals (12)

  • Brendon Woods, Public Defender of Alameda County (for identification purposes only)
  • Michael Barnett, Elected Member, Alameda County Democratic Central Committee
  • Adrienne Elenteny, Senior Enforcement Attorney, State of Ca; CEO/Founder Crime-IQ Legal Research Software
  • Beverly Hansen, Retired High School Principal
  • Dr. Lynn Silver, Public Health Institute (for identification purposes only)
  • Deborah Marx, Family Law Attorney, Law Office of Deborah Marx
  • Peter Jacobs, Physicist, LBNL (for identification purposes only)
  • Jackie Care, Real Estate Agent
  • Chris High, Retired Architect
  • John Barnard, Physicist, LLNL (for identification purposes only)
  • Bonnie Pearson, Owner, BP Home
  • Tammy Yuen, Retired Attorney

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

We are all safer when justice is administered fairly.  The fair administration of justice starts at your local courthouse, with a level playing field regardless of race or economic status.  In my thirty-year practice of law, I saw defendants penalized just because they were poor.  For example,  I saw them settle cases just to get out of jail because they couldn’t afford bail.  As a judge I’ll be sensitive to this issue and to the issue of public safety. As an Alameda County public defender who served low-income clients from Livermore, to Fremont, to Albany, I know that both prosecution and defense have an important role to play. I will not favor either side.  I will read the law and follow it, respect taxpayer dollars, be courteous to litigants and the public, and stand against racism, sexism, and homophobia in my courtroom.  

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