M. Bruce Smith

M. Bruce Smith photo

Justice Smith is a 1978 graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a Bachelor’s Degree in U.S. History. He attended the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and obtained his Juris Doctorate in 1981.

Upon becoming a member of the California State Bar in December 1981, Justice Smith worked as a graduate legal assistant for the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office before coming to Fresno to be a Deputy District Attorney in the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office in 1983. In 1988, he joined the law firm of Stammer McKnight Barnum & Bailey as an associate, becoming a partner in 1993.

Judge Smith was appointed to the Fresno Superior Court by Governor Gray Davis on February 2, 2000. After his appointment to the Superior Court, Judge Smith was assigned to the Juvenile Court where he served as a trial judge in the Delinquency Division. In August 2001, he was assigned to be Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court. In August 2004, he was assigned to the Felony Trial Division handling a variety of criminal matters. In 2007, Judge Smith was selected Assistant Presiding Judge and was thereafter elected to serve as Presiding Judge of the Court for the 2009-2010 term.

In 2011, Judge Smith was assigned to the Unlimited Civil Division of the court serving as a trial judge handling a variety of civil matters. In August 2012, Smith was assigned to be the Supervising Judge of the Division where he served until his elevation to the Court of Appeal.

While Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Division, Judge Smith assisted in the design and development of the new Juvenile Justice Campus on American Avenue. As Presiding Judge of the Court, he assisted in the design and redevelopment of the Sisk Federal Courthouse, which now houses the Fresno Superior Court Civil, Probate, Family Law, and Family Support Divisions.

As a member of the Superior Court, Judge Smith served on a number of internal and state-wide committees, including the following: Trial Court Security Advisory Committee Advisory Group to the California Judicial Council, 2010 to 2012; Trial Court Budget Working Group Advisory Committee to the California Judicial Council, 2009 to 2010; Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee, 2009 to 2010; Fresno Superior Court Technology Committee, 2011 to 2014, Chair; Fresno County Local Justice Coordinating Council, 2009 to 2010, Chair; Fresno County Interagency Council For Children and Families, 2001 to 2004, Chair; Court Technology Advisory Committee to the California Judicial Council, 2001 to 2003; California Judges Association, 2000 to present; Fresno Superior Court Executive Committee, 2003 to 2013; Sex Offender Management Planning Grant Committee, 2001 to 2006; Superior Court Commissioner Evaluation Committee, 2001 to 2003.

On November 12, 2014, Justice Smith was nominated to be an Associate Justice to the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., and was confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments on December 10, 2014.

Justice Smith is married to Nancy and they have two children.