Justice Stephen Kane was born in San Mateo in 1952. He and his wife Brenda have four children.
Following graduation from Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, Justice Kane attended the University of Notre Dame, completing his undergraduate work in three years with a B.A. degree, magna cum laude, in economics. He received his law degree in 1976 from Hastings College of the Law (Chair, Moot Court Board 1975-1976).
In 1976 he entered the private practice of law in Fresno joining the firm now known as McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte & Carruth, where he practiced as an associate (1976-1981) and then as a partner (1981-1992). His practice specialized in civil litigation and trial work, primarily defending cases of personal injury, professional liability, employment law and public entity liability. He became a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) in 1985.
As a lawyer, Justice Kane was involved with the Fresno County Young Lawyer’s Association (President, 1982; Board of Directors, 1978-1983) and the Fresno County Bar Association (Board of Directors, 1982-1984). He has been an active supporter of the Fresno County High School Mock Trial Program since its inception in 1982. He received the State Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award in 1985 and the Fresno County Young Lawyers' Blaine Pettitt Mentor Award in 2010.
In January 1992, Governor Pete Wilson appointed Justice Kane to the Fresno Superior Court where he served until June 2006 when Governor Schwarzenegger elevated him to the Court of Appeal. During his 14 years on the Superior Court, Justice Kane handled a variety of judicial assignments, including presiding over civil, criminal, juvenile and family law trials, civil and criminal law and motion, felony sentencing and appellate department work. He was the first Presiding Judge of the Consolidated County Courts (1996, 1997), the first full time civil law and motion judge for the Fresno courts (1999-2002) and the first Supervising Judge of the court’s newly created Civil Division (2003, 2004).
Since joining the bench in 1992 Justice Kane has lectured, moderated and participated on numerous educational panels on various law-related topics. He served on the Judicial Council's Presiding Judges Advisory Committee (1996-1997). He served on the Board of Governors, San Joaquin Valley Association of Business Trial Lawyers (2001-2006, Secretary 2004-2006). He was Chair of the Bench, Bar, Media Steering Committee (2006-2007). He served on the Judicial Council's Advisory Commission on Civil Jury Instructions (2003-2009).