Getting to Know Hon. David E. Goldstein

Hon. David E. Goldstein was appointed to the bench in November 2015 by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Judge Goldstein is currently located at the George D. Carroll Courthouse in Richmond, California.

As a California native, Judge Goldstein was raised in San Carlos and has been a resident in the Golden State to this present day. He is the only child of a college professor and a teacher who instilled in him the value of education, the importance of a hard work ethic, and an appreciation for social justice and the environment. He graduated from Sequoia High School in Redwood City and went on to obtain his bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of California, Davis in 1991. At that point, he had considered following in his parents’ footsteps and pursuing a career in academia or public service. He had also considered becoming a journalist to cover his favorite topic from school: politics. He ultimately decided on attending law school because it offers a path to financial stability while still keeping the door open to his other interests in academia, public service, and politics.

After getting his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 1994, Judge Goldstein joined the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office as a law clerk, and then was hired as an attorney in 1995. For the next 20 years, he provided representation to parties involved in a variety of case types. He started in the Misdemeanor Unit of the Public Defender’s Office and then served as court-appointed counsel to children and indigent parents in juvenile dependency court. He then spent several years handling felony caseloads where he defended individuals accused of crimes in jury trials, and then defended minors accused of crimes in juvenile delinquency cases.

In 2012, Judge Goldstein was put in charge of supervising the Central/East Misdemeanor Unit of eight attorneys. There, he enjoyed interacting with and mentoring younger attorneys by guiding and supporting their professional growth and advancement. He provided sound advice drawn from his own experience as an attorney, including the importance of being prepared on motions and going into the courtroom with the assumption that you are going to be grilled, Socratic-style, like you are back in your first year of law school. He also advised younger attorneys on the importance of building and maintaining one’s credibility by being honest when questioned in court, and to be civil to opponents while litigating fiercely. This is especially true if an attorney is interested in becoming a judge someday. You have to be a lawyer for 10 years before you can apply to become a judge, and people have long memories, and will weigh in with their opinions about you when you are being vetted by the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation and the local bar association.

After 2012, Judge Goldstein managed the arraignment calendar and handled early disposition cases. He then handled Sexually Violent Predators Act cases under Welfare and Institutions code section 6600. As a public defender, he was able to fulfill his passion for public service and social justice, providing advocacy and legal representation to individuals who cannot afford an attorney.

Having worn many hats at the Public Defender’s Office, he is well-prepared for becoming a judge. Judge Goldstein finds his years of service at the Public Defender’s Office to be a valuable and rewarding experience, and is truly honored to continue his public service and pursuit of justice as a judge of the Superior Court in Contra Costa County. In his current capacity as a judge, he is able to interact with members of the community that he serves and make a greater impact by affecting justice across a broader class of cases. Judge Goldstein is currently assigned to criminal arraignments and hearings, as well as civil harassment cases.

He is also scheduled to begin a jury trial assignment in October 2016. He enjoys holding pre-trial conferences with the attorneys from opposing sides and using his negotiation skills to efficiently resolve cases in a consistent manner that is fair to both parties. Although his current calendar allows him to draw from his criminal case experience while at the Public Defender’s Office, he looks forward to take on assignments in different areas of law.

When he is not in the courtroom, he enjoys spending time with his wife of 12 years and his two young children. Judge and Ms. Goldstein hope to raise their children to be honest and kind, and to work hard to achieve their goals. He also hopes to emphasize to his children the importance of a good education and social justice that his parents have passed on to him. Judge Goldstein is also a diehard baseball fan. He enjoys cheering for his home team, the San Francisco Giants, and hopes that they win another World Series. He also enjoys fantasy baseball, which he has been playing for 35 years.


Fae Li is the Director of Finance at the Contra Costa Superior Court. Prior to joining the Court in February 2015, she performed various audits of superior courts for the Judicial Council of California. She has also audited state and local government agencies for the California State Auditor.

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