Division Six: Associate Justice Hernaldo J. Baltodano

Image of Justice Steven Z. Perren Justice Hernaldo J. Baltodano is an Associate Justice of the Second District Court of Appeal. Justice Baltodano was born in Nicaragua, and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 15 months old. At the age of 19, his family received American citizenship. In 1999, Justice Baltodano graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a degree in sociology. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Berkeley Law at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2002. 

Justice Baltodano began his legal career as an associate at various law firms in Los Angeles, including Hadsell & Stormer LLP, Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi LLP, and Sanchez & Amador LLP, where he practiced complex employment and class action litigation. He was recognized as Advocate of the Year by Public Counsel in 2009 for his pro bono work on behalf of special needs children.  In 2011, Justice Baltodano relocated to San Luis Obispo, where he was a Founding Partner and Senior Litigation Partner at Baltodano & Baltodano LLP until 2017. The firm received the Access to Justice Advocate Award from the San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation for increasing access to justice.

In November 2017, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Justice Baltodano to the Superior Court of San Luis Obispo County, where he served in the criminal and civil departments.  As the Supervising Criminal Judge from December 2020 to September 2021, Justice Baltodano was instrumental in creating pre-trial services, mental health diversion treatment, and misdemeanor diversion programs for San Luis Obispo County.  Justice Baltodano is an active member of the California Judges Association (“CJA”), having served as a member of the Executive Board, the JetPAC (Judicial, Excellence, Together) Committee, and Vice Chair of the CJA Judicial Elections Committee.  In addition, Justice Baltodano is an active member of the California Latino/a Judges Association, serves on Governor Gavin Newsom’s Judicial Selection Advisory Committee for the Central Coast Region, regularly judges mock trial competitions for county middle school and high school students, and speaks to students of all ages about the judiciary.

In June 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Justice Baltodano as an Associate Justice to the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, in Division Six. The Commission on Judicial Appointments unanimously confirmed his appointment on August 3, 2022.

Justice Baltodano resides in San Luis Obispo with his wife of nearly 20 years and their two school-age children.