Sacramento Superior Court Announces New Assistant Presiding Judge, Joining New Presiding Judge


By Anna Kristina Moseidjord and Jake Wylie

SACRAMENTO, CA — The Sacramento County Superior Court has announced the appointment of Judge Bunmi O. Awoniyi as the new Assistant Presiding Judge, joining Judge Michael Bowman, who earlier was elected the new Presiding Judge.

Awoniyi has presided as a Sacramento Superior Court Judge since November, 2012, serving on the Criminal Domestic Violence Home Court in the Sacramento Main Jail, as well as the Supervising Judge in Family Law and Probate.

These positions have primarily put her in charge of trials focused on family conflicts, although she does also have experience as a judge on civil and criminal trials.

Awoniyi has also served on several committees during her tenure at the Sacramento Superior Court, including the Domestic Violence Committee, the Court Executive Committee, and the Criminal, Civil Law and Home Court Committees.

Awoniyi brings experience in the domestic violence field from before her tenure at the Sacramento Superior Court as well. Awoniyi founded her own boutique law firm in 1994 and worked for over 15 years helping northern Californians in areas of immigration and family law.

Outside of the Superior Court circuit, Awoniyi served as the President of the Wiley Manuel Bar Association (Association of African American Attorneys, Sacramento Chapter).

According to the Association’s website, their purpose is “to provide an organized bar affiliation to represent the professional interests of… Black attorneys; to promote the administration of justice; and to make use of legal tools and Legal discipline for the advancement of the economic, political, educational, and social interest of Sacramento, especially the Black community.”

She also taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Northern California, Lorenzo Patiño School of Law from 1997 to 1998.

Awoniyi immigrated to the U.S. after growing up in London, England. She earned a Bachelor of Law degree at Essex University, followed by a Masters of Law at Leicester University where she published her thesis, titled “The Detection and Investigation of Child Abuse.”

Awoniyi became a Barrister at Law after graduating from the Inns. of Court School of Law in the city of London, and shortly thereafter was admitted as an Attorney and Counselor at Law in the State of California in 1991.

While U.S. courtrooms are not nearly so formal and polite as those in the U.K., Awoniyi quickly adjusted to life in California’s courts, saying in a 2013 Sacramento Lawyer article that she would never want to practice law anywhere but Sacramento.

She explained in the article that she chose to practice family law in 1992 so she would be best prepared to serve any client who walked through her door. “It gives me great pleasure to serve clients of all different races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds,” she said in 2013.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected as the next Assistant Presiding Judge of the Sacramento Superior Court,” said Awoniyi this past week, after learning of her selection.

“We have an outstanding bench of jurists and dedicated court employees committed to excellence in the administration of justice. I am proud to be a member of this bench, and I look forward to assisting Judge Bowman, our new Presiding Judge, in executing his vision for our court,” she said.

Hon. Michael Bowman is currently the supervising judge of the court’s Criminal Division, and was in the news last year for overseeing the case of convicted-murderer Joseph DeAngelo, known as the Golden State Killer, who was arrested in 2018.

Prior to being appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Bowman ran a private criminal defense firm for 18 years. Before that, he was a Deputy District Attorney.

Bowman has been a judge of the Superior Court of Sacramento County since 2013, and won re-election by default on March 3, 2020 due to the primary and general elections’ cancellations. His current term ends in 2027.

At a DA’s Youth Academy event in 2019, Bowman explained that he had first ‘put his name in’ to become a judge under Gov. Schwarzenegger, but wasn’t selected.. “In terms of wanting to be a judge, I just wanted to do something that really gave back to the community,” Bowman had said.

Awoniyi will help Bowman in her new role as an Assistant Presiding Judge for the entirety of 2022 and 2023.


About The Author

Anna is a senior at UC Davis double majoring in English and Latin American History. She is originally from Oakland, CA.

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