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Press Release

Court Elects Next Presiding Judge

Court Elects New Presiding Judge
Judge Thomas Nixon will begin leading the court next year.

Oakland, Calif. – June 29, 2023 - Judge Thomas Nixon was elected as the next Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of Alameda County with overwhelming support from his peers. Judge Nixon’s two-year term will begin January 1, 2024.

“I’m honored to have the support of my fellow judges and excited to lead the court as we continue to move forward in this post-pandemic era,” Nixon said. “I’m looking forward to the job ahead.” 

Judge Nixon will lead one of the largest superior courts in California with seven courthouses, 83 authorized judicial positions, more than 550 employees and an annual budget of more than $119 million.  

Judge Nixon has worked in the Superior Court of Alameda County for more than 20 years, first as a commissioner and then as a judge when he was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015.

While on the bench, Judge Nixon has held numerous leadership roles including supervising judge of the Hayward Hall of Justice, Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse, East County Hall of Justice and the court’s family law division. Since 2022, Judge Nixon has been the Court’s assistant presiding judge.

Judge Nixon graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from San Jose State University in 1981 and earned his Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law in 1984. 

Before joining the court, Judge Nixon worked in private practice at the Fremont-based Quaresma, Benya, Hall and Haun where he became a partner in four years and the firm became Quaresma, Benya, Hall, Connich, O’Hara and Nixon.

Judge Nixon will take over presiding judge duties from Judge Charles Smiley who was elected to the position in 2022 and continues to oversee, among other initiatives, the Court’s reopening from pandemic era restrictions and its continued transition to electronic filing and storage for all court divisions.

“I’m looking forward to a strong finish for my term and helping transition Judge Nixon into the role,” Judge Smiley said. “We’ll be in great hands when Judge Nixon assumes the post next year.”

Judges also elected Judge Michael Markman as the next Assistant Presiding Judge.

Judge Markman was appointed to the Alameda County bench by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2013.  He served on the appellate division for three years, presided over a hybrid complex litigation and civil direct calendar department, and held family law, unlawful detainer, and criminal law assignments.  He also served as supervising judge for the civil division in 2020, before beginning a battle with pancreatic cancer.  

Before joining the Court, Judge Markman practiced intellectual property litigation as a partner with Covington & Burling LLP and with Heller Ehrman LLP.  Judge Markman earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from the University of California, Berkeley and a Juris Doctorate from UC College of the Law, San Francisco. 

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