Judge (Ret.) Tricia Bigelow served a distinguished career for a good portion of her life to serve the best interests of her Californian constituents. Inspired at an early age by her father to go into law, Bigelow served in multiple capacities through her law career. Starting out as a Deputy Attorney General after graduating with a law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law, she slowly but surely climbed the ladder. She has worn several different hats during her law career; for example, she was successfully nominated by then-Governor Pete Wilson as a Judge in the Los Angeles Municipal Court, and later to the Los Angeles Superior Court. The following Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, successfully had her appointed as Associate Justice and later Presiding Justice for the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division 8 in 2008.
Responsibilities and Advocacy: spreading the United States’ standards of law
While serving on the Superior Court, she took on various roles and responsibilities. She had responsibility particularly for general jurisdiction fast-track civil trials. In this area, she had to handle every facet of civil litigation, including (but not limited to) business disputes, medical malpractice, employment disputes, insurance, and real property. However, while she did a lot of work with civil trials in this time, she also has a history of working on long cause criminal trials. She has presided over several notable examples, including gang murders, a death penalty case, Three Strikes cases, and even white-collar crimes. From 2006 to 2008, she also served as Chair of the Civil Law Education Committee for the Superior Court, as well as Chair of the Judicial Council Criminal Law Advisory Committee. She has also served as a member of multiple jury instruction committees, including the California Jury Instruction Committee (CALJIC) and the California Civil Instructions (CACI) committee. She had represented the state of California before multiple courts, including the California Court of Appeal, the California Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and even the United States Supreme Court.
Her career and interest in law are not only limited to her own state; in 2015, she traveled to Uganda to help them develop a plea-bargaining system. This was done as part of a conference, attended by 175 Ugandan judges, lawyers, and government officials, which was hosted by the Pepperdine Global Justice Program. A major impetus for her efforts in this area came from a desire to reduce overcrowding in prisons, and plea bargains are a good way to help accelerate the process and ensure that people spend less time in prison for their crimes. She was accompanied in this effort by Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell, a fellow alumnus of Pepperdine University School of Law. Not only does this help ensure that prisons do not get too full, but it also means that people will spend less time in prison. For major crimes involving sentences longer than 1.3 years, statistically speaking, people convicted of a crime are more likely to reoffend. Of course, there is such a thing as having too light a sentence for a crime; for those under 1.3 years of prison time, the closer they get to this number, the more likely they are to reoffend, due to the punishment being an ineffective deterrent. It also helps quite a bit with the actual court process, ensuring that cases are accelerated, and that people are more able to receive a speedy trial.
Education and Authorship
While she has a rich history of work in law, she is not limited to simply presiding over trials. She is also an author of multiple works, co-authoring three books: “California Three Strikes Sentencing”, “Sex Crimes: California Law and Procedure”, and “California Felony Sentencing”, all of which were published by The Rutter Group. By co-authoring these works, she hoped to better inform the readership on these
complex facets of California law. Not only to help people currently involved in law, but also people who aspire to become involved in law. Much like how her father, M. Ross Bigelow, inspired her, she hopes that she can inspire others as well.
She is also an accomplished lecturer, providing her perspective and knowledge to several fellow judges and attorneys on various legal topics. These include jury instructions, felony sentencing, civil motions and trials, and judicial ethics and fairness. She is also a past member of the board of Association of Business and Trial Lawyers, and she formerly served as an advisory member of the Commission on the Future of California’s Court system. Her forward-thinking mindset influences a lot of her actions and goals, hoping to make California’s court system a better system than it was once she is done with it.