2023-2024 San Joaquin Civil Grand Jury Releases Report on the Stockton City Council

Stockton, CA —  Today, the 2023-2024 San Joaquin County Civil Grand Jury (Grand Jury)  released its report investigating the Stockton City Council.  In response to complaints received, the Grand Jury investigated potential new Brown Act violations by members of the Stockton City Council. Similar complaints about previous Brown Act violations by the City Council were also received during the 2022-2023 Grand Jury term; however, as these earlier complaints were submitted late in that term, they were forwarded to the current Grand Jury for evaluation and potential action. Additionally, the Grand Jury received complaints about the creation of a fearful work environment within Stockton City Government caused by individuals associated with 209 Times, LLC, a social media platform (SMP), who reportedly used emails and public comments to continuously intimidate city staff and elected officials.

In the course of the investigation, the Grand Jury conducted interviews with current and former Stockton City Councilpersons, City employees, consultants to the City of Stockton, an attorney with The Fair Political Practice Commission (FPPC) and citizens. The Grand Jury reviewed a variety of materials such as newspapers (The Record, The Los Angeles Times, Tracy Press, The Sacramento Bee), press releases, Stockton City Council meeting minutes, and documents like the City of Stockton Charter and Code of Conduct, as well as ethics codes and policies from San Francisco, Alameda, and Lodi. It also encompassed San Joaquin County Superior Court case records. Online resources reviewed included websites and posts from the FPPC, California League of Cities, San Francisco Ethics Commission, 209 Times and its SMP, NPR articles, Stocktonia.org, and the FPPC. Additionally, previous grand jury reports (notably 2013-2014 Case 1113), Stockton City Council and the Brown Act publications, FPPC candidate filings, and Stockton City Council training  records were examined.

The Grand Jury found and concluded the efficient and ethical governance of the City of Stockton is under threat from both external and internal forces. Externally, individuals using a SMP have persistently attempted to undermine the local democratic process, by influencing election results. Internally, certain Stockton City Council members who support the SMP’s efforts are contributing to the erosion of camaraderie, trust, respect, and ethical governance. Continued violations of the Brown Act by these council members further compromise good governance for Stockton’s citizens. While the Grand Jury staunchly supports Freedom of Speech as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the misuse of this right by individuals spreading misinformation and creating a  fearful work environment for city staff and officials is unacceptable and must be stopped. The Grand Jury’s recommendations, include, but are not limited to:

  • The City Council should cease supporting individuals associated with the SMP to prevent interference with effective governance. By March 31, 2025, the City Council should implement rules for managing unlawful threats, referring them to the District Attorney, and adopt an ordinance to enhance election transparency, similar to San Francisco’s regulations.
  • By March 31, 2025, the City should strengthen its Closed Session policies to prevent the disclosure of confidential information by banning electronic devices and requiring attendees to sign a secrecy pledge. Additionally, the City should create an ordinance for handling Brown Act violations, including an impartial review process and sanctions such as public censure and committee removal.
  • By March 31, 2025, the City should engage an impartial third-party investigator to examine the City’s Ethics Hotline procedure, aiming to restore confidence among employees and the public in the system.

The public is encouraged to read the complete report by visiting the Grand Jury’s website.



05/02/2024-4:00 p.m. Bob Hope Theater, 242 E Main Street, Stockton, CA

STOCKTON – Over 275 participants of the Collaborative Courts have completed one of the court rehabilitation programs at the Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin over the past year. On Thursday, May 2, 2024, we will celebrate this achievement with a commencement ceremony at 4 p.m. at the Bob Hope Theater, 242 E. Main Street, Stockton, CA.

Collaborative Courts is a division of the Superior Court, which combines judicial supervision with monitoring and rehabilitation to reduce recidivism by addressing issues that contribute to criminal behavior. The goal of these problem-solving courts is improving public safety and client outcomes,

“We are delighted to announce the graduation of over 275 participants from our Collaborative Court Programs. After the conclusion of the ceremony, there will be a reception in the lobby of the theater where participants and their families connect with the officials who supported them throughout the program. We encourage you to come to congratulate the graduates on their achievements and acknowledge their hard work and dedication”. – Kelly Placeres, Director of Collaborative Courts

Key Note SpeakerPastor Chris Mullen. Chris Mullen embarked on a path of drugs and dealing at the age of twelve, leading a recurring pattern of criminal behavior. He cycled in and out of prison, serving a total of six years behind bars. In 1997, he quit taking drugs and started a new path in life. Driven by his commitment to serving the inmate community, he resigned from a lucrative job during the recession of 2009. This new direction in life led him to start a registered non-profit called Mercy and Grace, with the belief that “a hard life lived can be a new life transformed.” Mercy and Grace has served over 100,000 inmates.

Graduate SpeakerPaul Reed. Paul Reed is a resilient single parent of seven-year-old twins, Ian and Ivy. Despite being deaf since age two due to a severe fever, Paul faced homelessness and the challenges of parenting amidst substance use and his disability.  Entering drug court on March 9th, 2023, he not only conquered addiction but also flourished, paving the way for reunification with his children. Today, both of his children are in his care, he has obtained his driver’s license, and he is officially employed at the      program. As he approaches graduation from the drug court program, Paul’s journey embodies resilience, hope, and the transformative power of community support. His story serves as a beacon of inspiration, demonstrating that with courage and determination, any obstacle can be overcome.

                For more information, please contact Kelly Placeres at 992-5225.



Stockton, CA — On April 12, 2024, the residents of San Joaquin County elected two new Judges: Katy Jacot and Peter Devencenzi.

Judge-Elect Katy Jacot has been a Superior Court Commissioner since January 3, 2023.  In her current role as Commissioner for the Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin, Judge-Elect Jacot handles matters such as Criminal, Limited Civil, Small Claims, Civil Harassment, and Traffic. Prior to becoming Commissioner, she worked in the San Joaquin Public Defender’s Office as a deputy public defender from January 1, 2007, until her selection as Commissioner.   Judge-Elect Jacot graduated from California State  University, Chico with a degree in Political Science and obtained her Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University, School of Law.

Judge-Elect Peter Devencenzi is a deputy district attorney for the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office and joined the office in January 2013. While at the District Attorney’s Office, Judge-Elect Devencenzi’s case load consisted of Felony and hearings. Prior to his work at the District Attorney’s office, he worked at the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office and practiced Civil law with the firm of Mayall Hurley.  Judge-Elect Devencenzi attended the University of the Pacific and majored in Political Science with a minor in Pre-Law.  Judge-Elect Devencenzi obtained his Juris Doctor from McGeorge School of Law.

Presiding Judge Gus Barrera II, had this to say, “I congratulate both Judge-Elect Jacot and Judge-Elect Devencenzi for running a very strategic, thoughtful, and effective campaigns.  Each brings great legal experience and perspective to our bench.  Both are extremely hardworking, enthusiastic, dedicated, and will be tremendous additions going forward. I look forward to working with each of them in their new roles.” 

Judge-Elect Jacot and Judge-Elect Devencenzi will take the bench on January 1, 2025 unless they receive an early interim appointment by Governor Gavin Newsom. Their  swearing in ceremonies have yet to be scheduled.

After this election, the Court has two judicial vacancies that need to be filled. In addition, a state Judicial Needs Assessment has found that the San Joaquin County Superior Court is in need of additional judgeships.



Stockton, CA — On March 12, 2024, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Chrishna Martinez to serve as judge on the San Joaquin Superior Court bench.

Judge Chrishna Martinez currently serves as a Deputy Public Defender at the San Joaquin County Public Defender’s Office and has done so since 1999. As a Deputy Public Defender, she has handled felony, misdemeanor, juvenile delinquency, and juvenile dependency cases. Her most recent assignment has been in the Collaborative Courts.  She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law.

“I am honored to be appointed to serve as a judge in San Joaquin County.  I am committed to upholding the principles, of justice, fairness, and integrity while serving the community,” said Judge Martinez. Judge Martinez is actively involved in the community having served as Chair of the Women Lawyers Section and Vice Chair of the Criminal Law Section, and volunteering at the First Impressions Program and the Just The Kids Program.

Presiding Judge Gus Barrera said, “We are very pleased that Chrishna has been appointed to our bench. Chrishna has a reputation for zealously representing her clients and is well respected within the legal community. She has extensive experience in the courtroom and a keen legal acumen. The litigants that come before her will benefit greatly from this wisdom.”

The appointment of Judge Martinez will greatly assist the Court’s goal in continuing to provide access to justice for court litigants. Judge Martinez fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Bernard J. Garber in February 2023.  After this appointment, the Court has two judicial vacancies that need to be filled. In addition, a state Judicial Needs Assessment has found that the San Joaquin County Superior Court is in need of additional judgeships.

Judge Martinez’s swearing-in ceremony has yet to be scheduled.


San Joaquin County Superior Court Seeking Applicants to Serve on the 2024-2025 Civil Grand Jury

Stockton, CA — The San Joaquin County Superior Court is seeking applicants to serve on the fiscal year 2024-2025 San Joaquin County Civil Grand Jury.  The deadline for application submission is March 22, 2024.

Applications can be obtained by calling (209) 992-5695.   Applications can also be found on the court’s website at:  http://www.sjcourts.org/general-info/civil-grand-jury

Members of the 2024-2025 Civil Grand Jury will begin serving July 1, 2024. The Grand Jury is comprised of nineteen citizens whose names are randomly selected from  applicants nominated by the Judges of the Superior Court.  The Civil Grand Jury inquires into and investigates the functions and operations of governmental bodies, agencies and public officials within San Joaquin County, as well as investigates complaints received from the public.  Past reports have focused on juvenile group homes, community college and school districts, jail operations, special districts and housing authorities.

Positive comments from recent past grand jurors regarding their involvement and their  experiences include, “A strong desire to serve our citizens and making sure all governmental agencies are doing their job.”  “I love the fact that jurors have vast knowledge in the field they have worked in, which give first-hand experience to topics  discussed . . .” and, “Meeting a wide variety of community members and working together.”

Applicants must be able to work in-person and have the ability to work remotely via telephonic or video appearance (a smart phone and internet access are required). 

A Grand Juror must be at least 18 years of age, a United States citizen who has resided in San Joaquin County for at least one year, possess sufficient knowledge of the English language, and is not now serving as a trial juror or elected public official. Qualified applicants may be interviewed by a Superior Court Judge.  The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office will conduct background investigations, which includes a record check from law enforcement agencies.



Due to an unforeseen facility emergency, the Manteca Branch Court was closed for business today, January 5, 2024 and will remain closed through Monday, January 8, 2024.  No in person service will be provided at the Manteca Branch Court during this temporary closure.

If you have a scheduled hearing for Monday, January 8, 2024, please call the Clerk’s Office for additional information. 

(209) 239-1316 Criminal and Traffic
(209) 239-9188 Civil Harassment
(209) 239-9188 Unlawful Detainer (Landlord-Tenant)

All filings are to be filed at the Stockton courthouse during this period. 



Stockton, CA — Judge Gus C. Barrera, II is the new Presiding Judge and Judge Lance Jacot is the new Assistant Presiding Judge. Their terms commenced January 1, 2024 and run through December 31, 2025.

Judge Barrera served as the former Assistant Presiding Judge in 2022 – 2023 and replace outgoing Presiding Judge Michael D. Coughlan. Judge Barrera earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Brigham Young University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a partner and attorney at the Law Offices of Allan Jose and Gus Barrera II from 2005 to 2010. Judge Barrera served as a deputy district attorney at the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office from 1998 to 2005 and was an associate at David Allen and Associates from 1997 to 1998. He had been a sole practitioner since 2011 when he was appointed to the Superior Court by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in December 2016.

Judge Jacot is currently assigned as a criminal trial judge.  Judge Jacot was appointed to the bench by Governor Gavin Newsom in December 2019. He was a sole practitioner from 2010 to 2019 and served as a deputy public  defender at the San Joaquin County Public Defender’s Office from 1999 to 2010. Judge Jacot earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California Law San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings). 

The Presiding Judge, with the assistance of the Court Executive Officer, is responsible for leading the court, establishing policies, and allocating resources in a manner that promotes equal access to justice, maximizes the use of judicial and other resources, increases efficiency in court operations, and enhances service to the public. The Assistant Presiding Judge shall act in the absence of the Presiding Judge and will then assume the role of the Presiding Judge when the two-year term as Assistant expires.



Pursuant to Government Code section 68511.7, the Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin is providing the public with notice and opportunity for comment prior to adoption of the trial court’s Proposed Baseline Budget Plan for Fiscal Year 2023-24.

The Court will accept written comments on the Proposed Baseline Budget Plan(below) through 5 p.m. on Monday, December 4, 2023. Per Government Code section 68511.7(d), the Court is not obligated to provide responses to the comments received. Please submit your comments electronically to eochoa@sjcourts.org by mail to:

Erica A Ochoa
Assistant Court Executive Officer
180 E. Weber Ave., Ste. 1306E
Stockton, CA 95202

The proposed budget will be adopted by the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court five (5) business days following the posting of this notice.


NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY – November 18, 2023

Stockton, CA — On Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 9 a.m., the Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin, will host National Adoption Day with San Joaquin County Human Services Agency, Aspiranet, Wayfinder Family Services, Family Extension, Parents by Choice, Share Homes FFA, and ICPC. This year’s event will celebrate and finalize adoptions for 23 families and 33 children.

This event will be presided over by Judges Michael D. Coughlan, Anthony P. Lucaccini, Erin Guy-Castillo, and Michael J. Mulvihill Jr. Judge Erin Guy-Castillo will begin with a brief welcome and introduction. 

Upon reflection of this eventful day, Judge Erin Guy-Castillo said, “The San Joaquin Superior Court is honored and thrilled to participate again in National Adoption Day. We have an opportunity to not only formalize forever families for so many children, but are continuing to raise awareness about the children in our community who are in need of foster care or are eligible and waiting for adoptions.  We want this meaningful event to honor and celebrate those who have come forward to transform the lives of children through adoption. We are grateful as a court to participate in this joyous event that makes a difference in the lives of so many children.” Judge Michael J. Mulvihill Jr. adds, “It is truly an honor as a member of the San Joaquin Superior Court and a resident of San Joaquin County to participate in National Adoption Day.  We are so blessed as a community to have so many parents come to court and enlarge their family by adopting these children in need.  While these families may not share the same blood, the love they share is what truly makes them a family.  It is more than an honor to be part of their day and we wish them noting but love and happiness.”

Volunteers from the court and agencies participate in this special day by working together to celebrate the joys of adoption and encourage more families and individuals to give children permanent families through adoption.

National Adoption Day has been celebrated across the nation on the Saturday before  Thanksgiving and to raise awareness of the more than 113,000 children and youth in foster care waiting to find a permanent and loving family. Over the past 24 years, the nationwide collective effort of judges, lawyers, court staff, foster professionals, child advocates, sheriff personnel, and many others has made the dreams of over 75,000  children and youth come true by working on this one special day to finalize adoptions for children and youth in foster care.

For your convenience, here is information regarding the event:

· Begins at 9:00 a.m., Jury Assembly Room 12th floor

· Court opens to families at 8:15 a.m.

· Welcome/Introduction: Judge Erin Guy-Castillo

· Stockton Courthouse – 180 E. Weber Ave., Stockton, CA

· Members of the public and press are invited to attend court in person. Press interested in recording court proceedings via TV camera and recorder, still camera, and/or audio must complete required paperwork. Please send requests to mediarequest@sjcourts.org.



Stockton, CA —  On October 5, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed two new San Joaquin Superior Court Judges: Allan F. Jose and Sabrina Schneweis-Coe.  

Judge Allan F. Jose had been a Sole Practitioner since 2005. He was a Partner and Attorney at the law firm of Jose & Barrera APC from 2005 to 2016. Judge Jose served as a Deputy District Attorney at the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office from 1998 to 2005 and was an Associate at Cook Brown LLP from 2001 to 2002. He was an Associate at Murphy Pearson Bradley and Feeney from 2000 to 2001. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Linda Lofthus effective October 6, 2023. “I am both privileged and excited by this Appointment. I look forward to serving San Joaquin County and earning the trust placed in me by the Governor,” said Judge Jose.

Prior to her appointment, Judge Sabrina Schneweis-Coe served as Supervising Probate  Attorney at the San Joaquin County Superior Court since 2019. She was a Partner at Schneweis-Coe & Bakken LLP from 2014 to 2019 and Counsel at Downey Brand LLP from 2010 to 2014. She was a Partner and Owner at Schneweis-Coe & Bakken, Attorneys at Law from 2002 to 2010 and an Associate at Drobny Law Offices Inc. from 2000 to 2002. Jude Schneweis-Coe earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. She filled the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Anthony Lucaccini in August 2023.   “I am truly honored and humbled to have been appointed by Governor Newsom. I look forward to serving the community of San Joaquin County,” said Judge Schneweis-Coe.

Assistant Presiding Judge Gus Barrera said “I am extremely pleased with the additions of Judges  Allan F. Jose and Sabrina Schneweis-Coe to our bench.  Each of them brings a vast amount of experience and specialized knowledge that will be an asset in their future assignments.  They each have a strong work ethic and great judicial temperament.  The Court has every confidence they will excel in their new positions.”

The appointments of Judge Jose and Judge Schneweis-Coe will greatly assist the Court’s goal in continuing to provide access to justice for court litigants.  After these appointments, the Court has three judicial vacancies that need to be filled. In addition, a state Judicial Needs Assessment has found that the San Joaquin County Superior Court is in need of additional judgeships.

Both judges’ formal and public swearing in ceremonies have yet to be scheduled.