Thomas DeSantos

Associate Justice Thomas DeSantosJustice Thomas DeSantos was born in Hanford in 1956.  He graduated from Hanford High School in 1974 and Stanford University in 1978.  He received his Juris Doctorate degree in 1981 from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

Justice DeSantos was admitted to the practice of law in California on December 1, 1981.  He was also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States District Court.

After graduation, Justice DeSantos returned to his hometown of Hanford and began the private practice of law with Kahn, Soares and Conway (1981-1983), Farley, Rynda & DeSantos et al. (1984-1993), and as a sole practitioner (1994-2003).  Initially, he practiced in criminal law and then later expanded into a general law practice focusing on family, juvenile, and governmental law.

Upon appointment by Governor Gray Davis, DeSantos was sworn in as a Kings County Superior Court Judge on October 24, 2003.  While on the superior court, Judge DeSantos initially was assigned to the Hanford court where he handled criminal cases from arraignment, pretrials, preliminary hearings, and sentencings and limited civil cases.  Judge DeSantos also presided over the Avenal and Corcoran courts on Thursdays and Fridays consisting of a prison criminal calendar as well as a regular criminal calendar and limited civil cases.  From 2005-2007, Judge DeSantos presided over the Lemoore court handling family law, conservatorship, domestic violence, and juvenile dependency cases.  In 2008, until his appointment, Judge DeSantos was assigned to a general trial department handling all criminal cases from arraignment through trial and sentencing as well as unlimited civil cases from law and motion to trial and posttrial matters.

Judge DeSantos was selected as the Assistant Presiding Judge (2011-2012) and then elected as Presiding Judge of the Kings County Superior Court for three years (2012-2014).  During this time, Judge DeSantos assisted in the design and development of the new Kings County Superior Court, which brought all courthouse and judicial officers together in one building.

As a member of the judiciary, Judge DeSantos served on statewide committees for the Judicial Council of California, which included the Access of Fairness Advisory Committee (11/1/2011-10/31/14), Trial Court Budget Advisory Committee (7/11/13-9/14/15), Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee (1/1/13-12/31/15), and various other subcommittees.

On June 27, 2018, Justice DeSantos was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments on July 26, 2018.