The law firm of Sanger Swysen and Dunkle is pleased to announce the association of The Honorable Frank J. Ochoa (Ret.) with the firm. Ochoa retired after 32 years on the Santa Barbara trial court bench in 2015. He has an active arbitration and mediation practice, and will be taking selective civil and criminal cases in his return to practice as a lawyer. Senior Partner, Robert Sanger, said, “Frank Ochoa and I have been friends since his days before taking the bench. He has served with distinction on the bench and made many courageous decisions. Now that he has chosen to return to the practice of law, we are really enjoying working together on both civil and criminal cases.” Ochoa will be of counsel to the firm.
Frank Ochoa was the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County prior to his appointment to the bench in 1983. He practiced extensively in state and federal trial and appellate courts in that capacity. As a bench officer, Ochoa handled all assignments in the court and dealt with criminal, civil, family law, probate and juvenile calendars. He served on the Court's Appellate Department and was temporarily assigned by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court to serve on the California Court of Appeal.
He served as Presiding Judge of the Santa Barbara Municipal Court and the Santa Barbara Superior Court, and managed the merger of the county's multiple court systems into a countywide Superior Court in 1998. He designed and implemented Santa Barbara's first adult and juvenile drug courts, as well as the Superior Court's “Court Administered Dispute Resolution Program” (CADRe program) which has been touted as a model for court-connected ADR programs around California. Ochoa also served as a member of numerous statewide boards and commissions related to the California Judicial Council and the California Judges' Association during his tenure on the bench.
Ochoa is a panelist on the American Arbitration Association's roster of arbitrators and mediators. He also is a panelist for Resolute Systems, LLC. He is an approved member of the Santa Barbara Superior Court's panels for Arbitrators, Mediators, and Neutral Case Evaluators. He is a panelist for the Ventura County Superior Court's mediation programs. He also continues to teach law related courses at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and has taught such courses at the Santa Barbara College of Law.