During Judge David De Alba’s 21 years on the Sacramento Superior Court, he gained a statewide reputation for flexibility and fairness. In addition to serving as a Presiding Judge, he has sat in the probate, criminal, and civil trial courts and complex and settlement conference departments. In general civil, he presided and settled cases including but not limited to lemon law, personal injury, TBI injuries, and real estate matters. In complex civil, he presided over hundreds of claims involving wage and hour, mass torts, employment, and many other class actions.

Prior to being appointed, he was an attorney at the Office of the Attorney General defending the state in personal injury, civil rights violations, wrongful death, and inverse condemnation lawsuits. Most notably, he defended the State of California in hundreds of lawsuits alleging inverse condemnation as a result of the historic 1986 floods in Northern California. Having spent his 43-year legal career in the Capital City, he tried and settled cases with lawyers from all over California; there is not much he hasn’t seen over the course of his career.

Judge De Alba has been involved with many organizations and bar groups for dozens of years and is greatly admired by lawyers and the community at large. Many comment on how he always gives of himself and “he is the type of guy, you want to go to a baseball game with.” Judge De Alba said, “I was fortunate to have gained a broad and extensive experience both as a trial judge and settlement conference judge. My most rewarding days were when I was able to help litigants settle cases- I am here to listen and help!”

Practice Areas
  • All types of Personal Injury including Wrongful Death and Sexual Assault
  • Civil Rights
  • Employment
  • Lemon Law
  • Professional Negligence
  • Products Liability
  • Real Estate
Hobbies & Interests

Judge De Alba enjoys swimming, reading, politics, and exploring the California coasts! His parents were born in Mexico, and he is fluent in Spanish. The eldest of six, Judge De Alba and his siblings were all born and raised in Northern California.

Legal Career
  • Neutral, Judicate West (2022-Present)
  • Judge, Superior Court of Sacramento County; Handled approx. 300 settlement conferences as a civil judge, presiding judge, and in the probate and settlement conference department (2001-2022); Supervising Judge, Civil Settlement Department (2021-2022); Presiding Judge (2018-2020); Assistant Presiding Judge (2016-2018); Supervising Judge, Civil Division (2016-2018)
  • Judicial Council, Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee (2018-2019); Vice Chair (2019)
  • Supreme Court State Bar Trustees Nomination Committee, Chairperson (2013-2016)
  • Judicial Council of California (2011-2015); Including Technology Committee, Vice Chair (2013-2015)
  • Special Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Sacramento (1999-2001)
  • Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Sacramento; Emphasis on Civil Division, Tort and Condemnation, Criminal Division, and Criminal Appeals and Trials (1979-1999)
Education & Professional Affiliations
  • J.D., University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law (1979)
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley (1976)
  • Civil Mediation, National Judicial College (2023)
  • Board of Trustees, Sacramento County Public Law Library (2002-2011; 2019-2021)
  • CJER Qualifying Ethics, Faculty Member (2019)
  • Bernard Witkin College for New Judges, Faculty (2005)
  • CJER Criminal Law Education Committee (2003-2007)
  • CJER Criminal Law and Procedure, Faculty Member (2003-2007)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Member (2014-Present)
  • California Judges Association, Member (2001-Present)
  • California Latino Judges Association, Member (2001-Present)
  • Hispanic National Bar Association (2001-Present)
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Member (1979-Present)
  • Sacramento Cruz Reynoso Bar Association (1979-Present)
Achievements & Awards
  • American Board of Trial Advocates - ABOTA "Judge of the Year" (2021)
  • Cruz Reynoso Bar Association “Defensor de Justicia” Award (2021)
  • Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association “Judge of the Year” Award (2016)
  • Sacramento County Bar Association “Judge of the Year” Award (2011)
  • Latino Journal “Outstanding Judge of the Year” Award (2011)
  • Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Achievement (1999)
  • Governor’s Safety Award (1997)
  • Sacramento County Unity Bar Award (1989)
Below is a sampling of the various matters Hon. David De Alba, Ret. presided over on the bench, tried as an attorney, or handled as a neutral.

Wrongful Termination

  • Presided over a variety of employment cases including but not limited to wrongful termination and defamation.

Civil Rights

  • Presided over several civil rights jury trials including a wrongful death shooting by a peace officer of a young African-American man and multiple excessive force cases alleging violations of USC Section 1983.
  • Heard dozens of motions in criminal cases alleging violations of the 4th Amendment including but limited to unlawful search and seizures, Miranda violations, and unlawful detentions of citizens.
  • As a deputy attorney general, he represented dozens of narcotics officers, special agents, SWAT team members, and highway patrol officers in cases of force involving claims of wrongful death, use of excessive force, and section 1983 violations in state and federal courts. In a high-profile case, he represented a highway patrol officer before a jury accused of shooting and killing a motorist while investigating a DUI violation.


  • Presided over a variety of probate cases including estates and trusts.

Medical Malpractice

  • Adjudicated dozens of medical malpractice cases including dental malpractice.

Professional Malpractice Legal

  • Adjudicated dozens of legal malpractice disputes including attorney fee disputes and misappropriation.

Real Property

  • Adjudicated hundreds of unlawful detainer cases including residential and commercial, non-payment, bank foreclosure, nuisance, wrongful eviction, habitability, discrimination, and force majeure issues.
  • Adjudicated dozens of civil real estate cases involving HOA issues, property line disputes, neighbor altercations, real estate agent disputes, non-disclosure and misrepresentation, tree cases, fence, and view disputes.

PI Auto

  • Adjudicated dozens of personal injury cases including auto, slip-and-fall, and wrongful death.

Product Liability

  • Mediated a products liablility case brought against a major automobile manufacturer. The victims included minors who lost their parents and suffered severe burns after the vehicle ignited into flames as a result of a high speed rear-end impact.
Judge De Alba was personable, knowledgeable about the facts and law, and provided good insight.
- Trial Attorney With Over Two Decades of Experience
Thank you, Judge. Your help was invaluable in settling the case.
- Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General
Judge De Alba is an avid intellect with a penchant for justice who is willing to go the extra mile to reach the right result.
- Civil Trial Attorney and California Super Lawyer 2022
Having tried and handled many cases throughout the entire state, I can easily say that Judge DeAlba is one of the best; He is the most prepared and knowledgeable jurist I have appeared before. He understands the law and has the ability to break down complex cases so that each side understands their strengths and weaknesses. In past settlement conferences, this has served him well in bringing the parties together.
- Civil Rights and Employment Trial Attorney and Former President of ABOTA, Sacramento Valley Chapter
Thank you to Judge De Alba for his time and effort in settling our case. He did a terrific job and I look forward to working with him again.
- Shareholder at a Top Firm and Northern California Super Lawyer
Hon. David De Alba, Ret.
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Case Manager: Rebecca Hoefer