Justice Simons graduated from the University of Michigan in 1967. He then attended the University of Chicago Law School, graduating in 1970.
After serving as a law clerk to Federal District Court Judge Alvin B. Rubin in the Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans), he worked as an Associate at Cooley Godward from 1971-1973. He then served as a Deputy Public Defender in Contra Costa County until 1980, when he was appointed to the Mt. Diablo Municipal Court in that county. He was elevated to the Contra Costa Superior Court in April 1995, where he served as Presiding Judge in 1999 and 2000. In January 2000, he was appointed to the Court of Appeal, Division Five and was confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments.
Justice Simons has devoted considerable time to teaching evidence to judges, lawyers and law students. He served as the Dean of the B.E.Witkin Judicial College in 1995 and 1996 and was an adjunct professor of law at Hastings College of the Law from 2002-2004. He was awarded the 2000 Bernard Jefferson Award for distinguished service in judicial education.
Married to Carol Simons in 1985 with two children, he enjoys reading American history and working out at the gym.