1st Black Woman Confirmed by California Senate for U.S. District Court for Eastern District

By Jocelyn Lopez 

SACRAMENTO, CA – California Superior Court Judge Dena M. Coggins will serve as the new U.S. district judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, stated the Ninth Circuit after the state senate voted to confirm President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., ‘s nomination.

The Sacramento Bee reports Coggins will be the first Black woman to serve as a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

As the 201st judicial nominee, Judge Coggins is part of the largest selection of women, people of color and LGBTQ people confirmed by the President, reports the Bee.

Coggins was nominated on Feb. 8, with the hearing occurring before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 6. On April 11, the nomination was reported to the Senate Floor, the Ninth Circuit Court states.

Chief District Judge Kimberly  J. Mueller stated, “Judge Coggins’ impressive record of public service has paved the way for her to join our bench without missing a beat.”

Coggins will officially join the federal bench when Mueller obtains Senior Status in September, reports the Ninth Circuit.

Coggins’s record ranges from: judge for the Superior Court of California in Sacramento County in 2021, appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2023 as the presiding judge of the Juvenile Court.

From 2015 to 2017, and 2018-2021 Coggins served as an administrative law judge in the General Jurisdiction Division and the Special Education Division for the State of California’s Office of Administrative Hearings, reports the Ninth Circle.

Previously Coggins supervised for the California Victim Compensation Board, State of California from 2017 to 2018 and was deputy legal affairs secretary for the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2013 to 2015.

Coggins, reported the Ninth Circuit, received her Bachelor of Science from California State University, Sacramento in 2003 and obtained her Juris Doctor in 2006 from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. Coggins was an editor of the Global Business and Developmental/The Transnational Lawyer Journal.

Post-law school, Coggins interned at the Yolo County Public Defender’s Office in Yolo County, in 2006, and in spring of 2006 Coggins served as a judicial extern for Mueller.

According to the Ninth Circuit, Coggins serves as chair for several committees such as: Juvenile Court Dependency and Delinquency Standing Committee, Executive Committee and Collaborative Court Committee, Criminal Justice Cabinet, the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council and its Realignment Subcommittee, the Juvenile Justice Diversion and Treatment Program Workgroup and the Sacramento County Child, Youth, and Family System of Care Interagency Leadership Team.

About The Author

Jocelyn Lopez is a fourth year student at the University of California, Davis studying International Relations with a minor in Tech Management. As an intern with the Davis Vanguard. Jocelyn hopes to expand her knowledge on the criminal justice system and interested in public service. Through her internship she hopes to take the knowledge and apply it to future careers whether it is pursuing a career in law school or following a different path. Jocelyn likes to read, travel, cook and watch all genres of movies.

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