Special Announcement

Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Because of the emergency due to the COVID-19 virus, and in response to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20, the court is operating remotely, with few staff at the courthouse. The court will continue to receive correspondence and filings both via paper and electronically. Access to the court by phone will be limited. Please click here to view all emergency orders issued in light of the pandemic.

4th District Court of Appeal

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Latest News

July 22, 2021

Effective September 20, 2021, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, is restoring in-person arguments considering updated state and local public health guidance. In accordance with state and local public health guidance, face coverings in the courthouse will be required for all visitors regardless of vaccination status. Those who are fully vaccinated may remove their masks only while presenting oral argument. Until further notice, the courtroom is open only to those parties presenting oral argument.

While in-person argument will return as the default method of appearance, in extraordinary cases permission to appear remotely may be granted by the Presiding Justice.

June 23, 2021

Effective August 2021, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division One, is restoring in-person arguments in light of updated state and local public health guidance permitting the relaxing of certain COVID-19 safety protocols. In accordance with state and local public health guidance, face coverings in the courtroom will be required for all regardless of vaccination status. Those who are fully vaccinated may remove their masks only while presenting oral argument. While in-person argument will return as the default method of appearance, parties may request to appear remotely. Until further notice, the courtroom is open only to those parties presenting oral argument.

June 8, 2021

Image of Justice AronsonAssociate Justice Patricia D. Benke of the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, will retire on July 31 after a 34-year career in Division One.

In 2018, she was one of five members selected for inclusion in the San Diego County Bar Association’s “Legends of The Bar, 2018” project.

From her early childhood in Pennsylvania, Justice Benke knew she would pursue the law. She took a brief detour as a student at San Diego State University to work as a production assistant for KPBS public television. There she was called upon to help produce and appear as an interviewer for such luminaries as Jacob Bronowski, writer and narrator of the thirteen-part BBC series, The Ascent of Man. She went on to attend the University of San Diego School of Law, serving as the managing editor of the Law Review, and graduating in 1974.

After graduation, Justice Benke joined the rapidly expanding State Attorney General’s office in San Diego. Within her first year, she argued before the California Supreme Court. She went on to appear multiple times before the state Supreme Court and in appellate courts throughout the state. She also assisted in the preparation of cases and issues bound for the United States Supreme Court. While a deputy attorney general, she tried multiple cases for the Office of the San Diego County District Attorney.

One newspaper article notes that Justice Benke’s rise through the court system was meteoric. In 1983, Governor George Deukmejian appointed her to the San Diego Municipal Court, and two years later she was appointed to the San Diego Superior Court. While still on the superior court, Justice Benke was, at the age of 37, considered for appointment to the California Supreme Court, which generated headlines throughout the state.

In 1986, Justice Benke was appointed to the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, in San Diego. She was 37 years old and had the distinction of being the first woman appointed to Division One. As the court clerk confirmed, she was at the time the youngest person ever appointed to the Court of Appeal in California. The following year she was again considered for the California Supreme Court.  

Justice Benke’s many judicial activities include appointment to the Judicial Council of California, a statewide body charged with improving the administration of justice. She also served on judicial advisory boards, including the Appellate Indigent Oversight Committee, which advises on policy and audits the state’s multimillion-dollar appellate indigent defense budget. 

Throughout her legal career, Justice Benke has maintained interests beyond the law. She has always enjoyed the world of literature and writing. In 2017, she published a book of short stories centered in Pennsylvania’s immigrant communities. The book reviewer for the San Diego Union-Tribune included it in his list of the 10 books recommended for reading that spring. The book won both a national Hoffer Award and San Diego Book Award for short story collections. Justice Benke also enjoys all things equestrian. She sponsored "Noodles," her beloved thoroughbred polo pony turned children’s therapy horse, at Helen Woodward Animal Center until he retired.

Among her recognitions, Justice Benke in 2007 received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of San Diego School of Law. She was the first recipient of the Napoleon A. Jones Jr. Award for Judicial Excellence, presented by the Earl Gilliam Bar Association. The award recognized “Distinguished Service to Justice and Commitment to Diversity and Community Service.” 

Justice Benke is a strong advocate of second career and military education. She is an adjunct professor at National University.

Administrative Presiding Justice Judith McConnell said: “Justice Benke has had a long and distinguished career on both the trial and appellate courts and her hard work and collegiality will be deeply missed.”

May 25, 2021

Image of Justice AronsonSANTA ANA—Associate Justice Raymond J. Ikola of the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three will retire on July 1, 2021 after a distinguished 47-year legal career, including 25 as a member of the California judiciary.

When Justice Ikola first shared his retirement plans with Presiding Justice Kathleen O’Leary, she said her first reaction was “please say you’re kidding.”  “Justice Ikola’s retirement will be an enormous loss to the court.  His trial experience both as a lawyer and a judge coupled with his exceptional intellectual ability made him the consummate appellate court justice.”  

The law was not Justice Ikola’s first calling.  A Michigan native, Justice Ikola received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.  He then completed his doctorate in electrophysics at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University while working as a research engineer at RCA Laboratories. 

Science’s loss was the law’s gain when Justice Ikola moved to California and obtained his juris doctor from the University of Hastings in 1974.  A renowned trial attorney, Justice Ikola practiced civil litigation in Orange County as an associate and then partner with Wenke, Evans & Ikola (and predecessor firms) from 1974 to 1987, a partner with Hufstedler, Kaus & Beardsley (and predecessor firms) from 1987 to 1990, and as a partner with Snell & Wilmer LLP from 1990 to 1995.  

Justice Ikola was appointed to the Orange County Superior Court in November 1995 by Governor Pete Wilson.  He enjoyed stints on the civil panel, the high impact trial team, the appellate division of the superior court, and the complex civil litigation panel. He presided as supervising judge of the civil panel in 2000. 

In December 2002, Governor Gray Davis appointed Justice Ikola to the appellate bench, where he has served with honor ever since. In addition to the daily work of deciding cases, Justice Ikola contributed to the judicial branch through his membership on the Court Technology Advisory Committee to the California Judicial Council (2005 to 2011), the Appellate Advisory Committee to the California Judicial Council (2008 to 2016, chair 2013-2016), the Civil Jury Instruction Advisory Committee to the California Judicial Council (2009 to 2018), and the Appellate Practice Curriculum Committee for the California Center for Judicial Education and Research (chair, 2015-2016).

Associate Justice Richard Fybel aptly commented, “The Bar, litigants and the judiciary have benefitted from Justice Ikola’s excellent opinions, powerful analytical ability, extensive knowledge of the law, fairness and collegiality.”

Throughout his career, Justice Ikola has also been active in the legal community, participating in a variety of professional organizations and frequently lecturing for the purpose of providing continuing legal education.  Justice Ikola was the recipient of numerous awards, including “Judge of the Year” in 2000, 2001, 2010, 2014, and 2015 (as selected by various bar associations).

May 6, 2021

Image of Justice AronsonSANTA ANA—Associate Justice Richard M. Aronson of the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three will retire on June 15, 2021 after a distinguished 46-year legal career, including 32 as a member of the California judiciary.

Justice Aronson received his bachelor’s degree and juris doctorate from the University of San Diego and holds a master of laws degree from the University of Virginia.  He began his legal career as a deputy district attorney for San Bernardino County and subsequently was a deputy public defender for Orange County.  He was a senior staff attorney for the Court of Appeal until he was appointed by the judges of the Orange County Superior Court as a superior court commissioner in 1989.  Justice Aronson was appointed to the Orange County Superior Court in March 1996 by Governor Pete Wilson and sat in criminal, family, and civil departments, gaining the breadth of experience that made him an ideal candidate when appointed in 2001 by Governor Gray Davis as an Associate Justice. 

Presiding Justice Kathleen O’Leary has known Justice Aronson since they were both Orange County Deputy Public Defenders over forty years ago.  She said, “Justice Aronson sets very high expectations for himself and always meets or exceeds those expectations. He loves the law and served the public with distinction.”  Although Justice O’Leary wishes her friend the best on his well-earned retirement, she said she will greatly miss having Justice Aronson as a colleague.

Associate Justice Thomas Goethals commented that Justice Aronson is “a distinguished legal scholar and writer who has worked relentlessly throughout his judicial career to produce thousands of fair and just opinions that speak directly and personally to his audience.  He has been an esteemed colleague whose passion for the rule of law will be missed everyday by those of us who continue to serve on the court.” 

Throughout his legal and judicial career, Justice Aronson has been a member of bar and profession associations, including the Orange County Bar Association, San Bernardino County Bar Association, American Bar Association, California District Attorneys Association.  He has served on numerous committees and boards including the Judicial Council Indigent Appeals Budget Oversight Committee, California Judges Association, Criminal Law and Procedures Committee, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Judicial Advisory Board.  He is a member of the Robert A. Banyard Inn of Court and served on its Board of Directors.  Justice Aronson has devoted countless hours to legal and judicial education including as an adjunct professor at Chapman University Fowler School of Law; as an instructor for the California Judicial Education and Research California Judicial College, the California Judicial Studies Program, California Law & Procedure Institute, Continuing Education of the Bar programs and Rutter Group programs; and as a Constitutional Rights Foundation mock trial judge.  His civic and charitable activities include the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, National Junior Basketball, Orangewood Home for Children, Santa Ana Stay In School Program, St. Edward’s Parochial School, and the Victim Assistance Program.

April 27, 2021

The Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Two, recognizes Law Day and its Volunteer Attorney Mediators.

March 5, 2021

The 2021 dates for the Civil Appellate Self-Help Workshop are available at 2021 Workshop Dates.

August 25, 2020

A remote hearing is a court proceeding and thus, the expectation and requirement of the Fourth District is that all attorneys dress in professionally appropriate attire. Additionally, counsel are advised to be conscious of their background and are further encouraged to have an appropriate background or to use an appropriate virtual background. For remote appearances via BlueJeans in Divisions One and Two, instructions for adding a virtual background can be viewed at the BlueJeans Virtual Background article.

June 15, 2020

Supreme Court issues statement on equality and inclusion. The statement can be viewed at the California Courts Newsroom.

April 13, 2020

The Clerk’s Offices in the Fourth District remain open but we are unable to answer in-person questions at this time. For all paper filings including emergency writs, if you are unable to file your papers electronically, you may use the drop-box located in the Clerk’s Office lobby in order to minimize in-person contact in light of COVID-19. The drop-box will be checked every hour. Should you have questions regarding your case, please contact us at San Diego (Div. 1) - 4DCA1ContactUs@jud.ca.govRiverside (Div. 2) 4DCA2ContactUs@jud.ca.gov, or Santa Ana (Div. 3) (714) 571-2600. Please be sure to note your case number in the subject line of the email. Alternatively, you may call the Clerk’s Offices during our normal business hours.

May 23, 2019

The Fourth District Court of Appeal is seeking attorneys to represent inmates in death penalty-related habeas corpus proceedings.  View for more information regarding applying for an appointment.

Case Information

The California Appellate Courts Case Information System provides case information for California Supreme Court and Court of Appeal cases. Case information is updated once an hour throughout the business day.

About Us

The 4th District is unique in that it is divided into three geographical divisions.

  • Division One is located in San Diego and has jurisdiction over matters from Imperial and San Diego Counties.
  • Division Two is located in Riverside and has jurisdiction over matters from Inyo, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.
  • Division Three is located in Santa Ana and has jurisdiction over matters from Orange County


Electronic Filing
Appellate Self-Help

Contact Info

4th District Div 1

750 B Street, Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92101

Clerk's Office: (619) 744-0760

4th District Div 2
3389 Twelfth Street
Riverside, CA 92501

Phone: (951) 782-2500

4th District Div 3
601 W. Santa Ana Blvd.
Santa Ana, California 92701

Clerk's Office (714) 571-2600
The California Courts are dedicated to ensuring that all qualified individuals with disabilities have equal and full access to the judicial system.  
  The California Courts are dedicated
  to ensuring that all qualified
  individuals with disabilities have
  equal and full access to the
  judicial system.  

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