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Michele understands the role of a judge since she was appointed by judges as a Superior Court Commissioner. She serves our public in different courtroom assignments, at the Central Justice Center and is assigned to the Criminal Division. When working in the county’s Central Jail Arraignment courtroom, Michele makes decisions on bail for 50 to over 100 people a day, frequently ruling on critical issues in serious and violent felonies, including gang crime, sexual assault, and murder.
She understands that public safety and the setting of bail requires careful, deliberate analysis, and issues orders that protect victims and our community.
Michele also presides over felony hearings where law enforcement and civilian witnesses testify before trial. With over a decade of experience in complex criminal legal matters, she also makes rulings on a variety of motions, expungements, and conducts jury trials. Michele works hard to make sure everyone is treated fairly, with dignity and respect.
Michele is the daughter of a Panamanian immigrant and if elected would become the first Black Latina Judge in Orange County. She is a dedicated mother of two boys, and the wife of a gang prosecutor in Orange County.
Prior to her appointment as a Superior Court Commissioner in 2021, Michele worked as a Deputy Public Defender at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, and was assigned to the felony trial team. She was previously an Associate at Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz and practiced complex civil litigation. Growing up in Southern California, Michele earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Management and Human Resources, from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She earned her Juris Doctorate from nationally ranked Tulane Law School in New Orleans.
Michele is a respected leader in the Orange County legal community. She previously served as a Board Member for the Public Law Center, Orange County’s largest pro bono organization. She also served as a Board Member for Thurgood Marshall Bar Association, Orange County’s only Black Bar Association.
Michele also has the honored distinction of being the former Chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s Criminal Law Section, which has over 300 attorney members from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Orange County Public Defender’s Office, County Counsel and private defense bar. She also served as the Co-Chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Through these organizations, Michele worked to support the needs of those who couldn’t afford their own legal services, and develop education programs, networking events, and scholarship opportunities for college students, law students and attorneys.