Vance W. Raye, Presiding Justice

Vance W. Raye, Associate Justice

Vance W. Raye, Presiding Justice of the Third District Court of Appeal, was born in Hugo, Oklahoma, on September 6, 1946. He was educated in the public schools of Muskogee, Oklahoma, and was awarded undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Oklahoma, where he received the President’s Leadership Award and was inducted into the Pi Sigma Alpha honor society. He is married to Sandra Raye, a retired social worker, and has an adult daughter.

Raye was in private practice briefly in Oklahoma City following law school before entering the United States Air Force. He served as an Assistant Judge Advocate at Beale Air Force Base, near Marysville, California, for four years in various positions, including Chief of Civil Law and Chief Prosecutor (Chief of Military Justice).

Following the completion of his military service, Raye began a career with the California Attorney General’s Office, serving first as a Deputy Attorney General and later as a Senior Assistant Attorney General in charge of legislative affairs. With the election of Governor George Deukmejian, he was appointed to serve as the Governor’s Deputy Legislative Secretary and later as the Governor’s Legal Affairs Secretary.

Raye was appointed to the Sacramento Superior Court in 1989 and sworn into office as an Associate Justice on the Third District Court of Appeal in 1991, following confirmation by the people. He was again confirmed to the office in 2003. In December 2010, Raye was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as the Court’s Presiding Justice.

Raye is a member of the California Judges Association, the Council of Chief Judges, and has been involved in many law related activities including service as chair of the National Governors Association Staff Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety (1988); the California Council on Criminal Justice Gang Violence Task Force (1988); the Task Force on Victim Restitution (1989); chair of the Judicial Council Committee on Family Law (1992-1993); Executive Committee of the California Judicial Council Commission on the Future of the Courts and chair of the Commission’s Family Relations Committee (1993); Member, American Bar Association Criminal Justice Standards Committee; Member, California Judicial Council Appellate Courts Advisory Committee and chair of the Committee’s Legislative Subcommittee; chair of the California Commission on Judicial Performance; and member of the Elkins Family Court Reform Task Force. He currently serves as President and Master of the Bench, Milton Schwartz/ David Levi Inn of Court, and co-chair of the State Child Welfare Council, in addition to service on numerous civic associations including the UC Davis Medical School Leadership Council, Board of Directors of the Center for Health Care Decisions, and the 100 Black Men of Sacramento.

Raye has taught at Lincoln Law School, been an instructor/participant at various educational institutes, and served as a contributor to “California Public Contract Law” and co-author of “California Civil Practice, Family Law Litigation,” a three volume treatise on California family law. 

Justice Raye retired from the Court in 2022.