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Judge Patricia L. Kelly graduated from the California State University, Northridge in 1990 with a B.A. in Political Science.  She then attended Pepperdine University's School of Law, graduating in 1994.

Judge Kelly began her legal career as a deputy district attorney for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office in their Eastern Division (Indio).  In 2005, she relocated and took a position as a deputy district attorney for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office (North County).  In both offices, Judge Kelly prosecuted gang and major narcotics cases for the majority of her career.

Judge Kelly was appointed to the Superior Court bench by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in August of 2010.  She currently sits in Department 9 of the Santa Maria Court, handling a criminal arraignment department.  Her previous assignments have included felony and misdemeanor trials, small claims, and traffic.  Judge Kelly has been the Supervising Criminal Judge for the North County since 2011. She is also a member of the Court's Executive Committee and chairs the Court's Security Committee as well as the Criminal Rules and Forms Committee.

Judge Kelly is a current member of the Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee and sits on the TCPJAC Executive Committee.

In 2015, Judge Kelly was unanimously elected to the position of Assistant Presiding Judge and served as Presiding Judge of the Superior Court from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018.  She is the first woman to hold this position in the history of the court.

Miller Division


Judge Kelly presides over
Dept. SM9 in the Santa Maria
Miller Division and is the Countywide Presiding Judge.

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