Martin J. Coughlin was born in San Bernardino on August 30, 1901. He received both his undergraduate (1923) and law (1925) degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. On August 31, 1925, he was admitted to the State Bar. He returned to San Bernardino where he was in private practice from 1925 to 1945. He was extremely active in both legal and lay communities, serving on countless boards, foundations and committees. He was president of the San Bernardino County Bar Association in 1937. Governor Earl Warren appointed him Judge of the San Bernardino County Superior Court on December 17, 1945. During his 14-year tenure on the Superior Court, he served as the Presiding Judge four times (1946, 1949, 1954 & 1958) and the Presiding Judge of the Appellate Department from 1952 to 1960. Governor Edmund G. Brown, Sr. appointed him as an Associate Justice to the Fourth District Court of Appeal on January 20, 1960. He took the oath of office the following day. He would be the last circuit-riding justice appointed to the Fourth District before the creation of the Fifth District in Fresno in 1961. Later, he would be one of the last three justices to hear cases for the entire Fourth District. He served on the Judicial Council and the Commission on Judicial Qualifications. He retired on August 30, 1971 - his 70th birthday. During the years that followed, he often sat on temporary assignment at the Court. He died in Alameda on March 22, 1983.