Fred Woods graduated from Rice University in 1958 with a BA in Psychology and from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles in 1963. He was honorably discharged from the United States Naval Reserve in 1967 as a Lieutenant Commander.
Before appointment to the bench Justice Woods practiced law in Long Beach, California for 20 years.
Justice Woods was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court by Governor George Deukmejian in 1984 and served in: Criminal Trials, Civil Trials, Law and Motion, and the Appellate Department of the superior court; and was a member of the Court Executive Committee. He was elevated to the Court of Appeal by Governor George Deukmejian in 1988. He has served on the Executive Committee, the Appellate Record Oversight Panel, as Acting Presiding Justice, the Appellate Delay Reduction Committee (Chair), and the Executive Legislative Action Network (ELAN) for the Second Appellate District (Chair). In May 2005, Woods served as Pro Temp Justice on the California Supreme Court.
He has authored numerous opinions while serving on the appellate court, including a number of noteworthy opinions, such as Fisher v. San Pedro Peninsula Hospital (1989) 214 Cal.App.3d 590, a landmark decision on environmental sexual harassment. He authored Sanctions - Stepchild or Natural Heir to Trial and Appellate Court Delay Reduction? (1990) Pepperdine Law Review, Volume 17, No. 3.
Justice Woods is active in the Joe Ball/Clarence Hunt American Inn of Court, Long Beach, California as a member of the founding committee, the executive committee, and as President. The American Inns of Court is dedicated to promoting civility, ethics, and legal skills and competence among bench and bar members.
Justice Woods has been active in the YMCA, Optimists Club, Rotary Club, Episcopal Church, California State Bar, the Long Beach Bar Association, other local bar associations, and the California Judges Association. His hobbies include sailing, physical fitness, and gardening.