A buckeye through and through, Presiding Justice Puglia was born October 16, 1929, in Westerville, Ohio. He received his B.A. from Ohio State University in 1952. After graduation, enlisted in the Army and saw combat as an infantry sergeant in the Korean War. Puglia earned his LL.B. in 1958 from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley. He started his legal career as Deputy Attorney General for the State of California, and then, from 1959-1969, served as Deputy and subsequently Chief Deputy District Attorney, Sacramento County. He also was an adjunct Professor of Law at McGeorge School of Law from 1961-1969. In 1969 he joined the law firm of McDonough, Holland & Allen, where he worked until his appointment to Sacramento County Superior Court in August 1971. Three years later Governor Ronald Regan elevated him to the Third District Court of Appeal.
During his 24 year tenure on the appellate bench Puglia authored over 4000 opinions. He also served on the California Judicial Council, Council of Chief Judges of Courts of Appeal (President, 1983-1984); California Judges Association (President, 1980-1981), California State Bar Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure. Justice Puglia retired from the bench in 1998, but returned to his old law firm of McDonough, Holland & Allen as a mediator. Robert K. Puglia died March 11, 2005 of brain cancer.