Steven M. Vartabedian

Profile picture of Justice Steven M. VartabedianJustice Vartabedian was appointed as an associate justice of the Court of Appeal by Governor George Deukmejian in September 1989. He served on the Sanger Justice Court (1981-1983), on the Fresno Municipal Court (1983-1987), two years as presiding judge, and on the Fresno County Superior Court (1987-1989), more than one year as presiding criminal judge, prior to his confirmation to the appellate court. Earlier in his career, starting shortly after his admission to the state and federal bar in 1975, he practiced law in partnership with Charles Poochigian emphasizing family law and real estate litigation.

After graduating with honors in 1972 from California State University, Fresno, he studied at Santa Clara University, School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1975. He later served his law school alma mater as a member of its board of visitors from 1992 to 1994.

He taught business law at California State University, Fresno, from 1976 to 1981. In 1992, he was a symposium speaker and panelist at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, for a program entitled “Victim Rights in California.” In 1995, he moderated a state bar program entitled, “To Appeal or Not to Appeal,” and has lectured on the subject of the appellate process to county bar associations and community groups on numerous occasions. His service with the state judiciary has included past participation on the planning committee of the Appellate Justices Institute and on a committee studying weighted caseloads, and present participation on the Appellate Court Legacy Project Committee. He has authored articles on the topics of sentencing, court delays, and sex abuse cases which have been published in the Pacific Law Journal and the Judges’ Journal.

Natives of the San Joaquin Valley, he and his wife, Marilyn, have three adult daughters, all engaged in careers in law. The entire family has been active in symphonic activities, the daughters being string musicians. Justice Vartabedian has additionally served in the community as a past founding member of the local board of directors of World Impact (an inner-city youth ministry), as a former trustee of the Armenian Community School of Fresno, and as an elder and bass soloist in his church. Recognitions have included the Sanger Unified School District’s Outstanding Contribution to Education Award (1982) and the Armenian Community School Outstanding Service Award (2004).