MONTEREY COUNTY — Judge Albert H. Maldonado announced his retirement to Presiding Judge Mark E. Hood on March 2.
After 22 years on the bench, Judge Maldonado’s final day of service will be March 28, and will officially retire June 30. Judge Maldonado has also notified Gov. Brown of his decision to retire on March 16, so the governor may make an appointment to fill in Judge Maldonado’s vacancy.
Judge Maldonado said, “I will miss the professionalism and dedication of our legal community, the Monterey County bench and all those staff members in Marina, King City, Monterey and Salinas who support our service to the public day in and day out. It has been a distinct privilege to have served the citizens and non-citizens of Monterey County from 1995-2017. It has been a further privilege to have served Contra Costa, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties as a visiting Superior Court Judge assigned by then Chief Justice Ronald George.”
He added, “I look forward to returning to private practice where I will initially work as a volunteer attorney with Legal Services for Seniors in Seaside. I also will practice in Palm Springs and Los Angeles. I will remain in Monterey County exploring alternative ways to give back to this wonderful community. I wish Gov. Brown the best in selecting a successor to fill the vacancy upon which I am about to retire.”
Maldonado has served as a Superior Court Judge since 2000. Maldonado was first appointed as a Judge of the Municipal Court, Monterey Judicial District, in Monterey County on Jan. 13, 1995.
“I became the first Latino judge in the history of Monterey County since Statehood — some 150 years later. The last judge of Mexican descent in Monterey was Jose Joaquin De La Torre in 1836 during the Mexican Era of California,” said Maldonado.
For the majority of his judicial career, Maldonado has been assigned to criminal matters and also serving on the appellate panel from 2000 to 2001 and again beginning in 2006 to 2016. He also served in the Civil Division in Monterey from 1998-2001. In 2010 Maldonado presided over the King City calendars involving criminal, traffic and small claims cases. In 2014 he also presided over the drug treatment, criminal mental health, and civil mental health specialty courts.
Judge Maldonado said, “My favorite assignment was with the specialty courts, as the interaction with those who need the collaborative intervention of treatment services, judicial interaction, and strict probation supervision is so rewarding when we witness first-hand the how lives are positively impacted.”
Judge Maldonado was admitted to the California State Bar June 1974 after receiving his Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law in Berkeley, CA earlier the same year. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from the University of Redlands in Redlands, CA in 1969.
He worked briefly as Law Clerk to the Honorable Marcus Kaufman and Honorable John Gabbert on the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division 2 in San Bernardino in 1973; as a Legal Research Attorney in San Bernardino County Superior Court from 1974-1975; as Deputy Public Defender in San Bernardino County from 1975-1976; and as a private attorney from 1977-1986 specializing in wrongful termination, employment discrimination, civil rights litigation, and labor law in both state and federal courts in Los Angeles.
Returning to Monterey County in 1986, he served as Deputy County Counsel until 1991 and as Deputy District Attorney from 1992 until his appointment as a Municipal Court Judge by Governor Wilson in January 1995.
Judge Maldonado first came to Ford Ord in Seaside in 1970. Judge Maldonado then served in Vietnam in 1971 where he was awarded the Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Medal with Two Battle Stars and the Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 Device. Following active duty in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Army from 1970-1971, Judge Maldonado then returned to Boalt Hall to complete law school.
Additionally, Maldonado has served the community as a member of countless boards, including the Vietnam Veterans of Monterey County, Veterans for Peace, La Raza Lawyers, President of Monterey College of Law, Central Coast YMCA, Monterey County Legal Service Corp., Monterey County HIV/AIDS Advisory Committee, League of United Latin American Citizens. He has also actively engaged in multiple judicial outreach educational opportunities with area schools consistently over the span of his career.
Presiding Judge Hood said in response to the announcement, “It’s always difficult to lose an experienced judge and we will miss Judge Maldonado tremendously. He has been a loyal public servant for many years and deserves to now take time to focus his attention on his interests, himself and his family.”