Julia C. Kelety, Associate Justice

Justice Thomas A. DelaneyJustice Julia Kelety was nominated for appointment to the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One by Governor Gavin Newsom on January 27, 2023. She was unanimously confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments and took the oath of office on April 7, 2023.  Before appointment to the Court of Appeal, for over nineteen years, Justice Kelety served as a judge of the San Diego Superior Court, where she presided over probate and juvenile dependency matters.  For three years, she served as Presiding Judge of the Superior Court’s Appellate Division. 


Justice Kelety grew up in Tempe, Arizona. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Arizona in 1982.  In 1985, she graduated from Cornell Law School, where she served as Articles Editor for the Cornell Law Review.  She clerked for the Honorable Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and then joined the litigation department of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as an Associate Attorney in the firm’s New York office from 1986 to 1990.

In 1990, Judge Kelety moved to San Diego and became a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.   As an AUSA, she received the Department of Justice’s Directors Award for her prosecutions of fraudulent telemarketers.   In 1997, Judge Kelety joined the Law Office of Howard Wiggins, where she later became partner.

Judge Kelety served as Board member for the Board of Trustees of the San Diego County Public Law Library from 2007 to 2023 and is a past President of the Board.  She frequently teaches probate-related subjects to judges statewide for the Judicial Council’s Center for Judiciary Education and Research (CJER).

In 2016, the Judicial Council of California, the California Judges Association, and the State Bar of California presented Judge Kelety with the Benjamin Aranda Access to Justice Award for a long-term commitment to improving access to the courts.