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Making history as female leaders in the judicial system

Posted at 7:23 AM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 12:06:27-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As Women’s History Month begins, we’re taking a look at some of the significant female leaders in our community. The Kern County Superior Court has 38 judges and eight commissioners. Of those, 11 judges and four commissioners are women.

“When I became a lawyer, I think the female attorneys around me were about 15% to 20%," said Judge Judith K. Dulcich. "So there’s been a lot of changes in the last 30 some years.”

Judge Dulcich and Judge Colette M. Humphrey are two of those women and they’ve both held one of the highest senior roles in the courthouse: Presiding Judge.

“Presiding judges get to make the assignments, there’s a lot involved, you make of administrative decisions, you also handle your own court calendars, jury trial calendar, readiness calendar," Judge Humphrey said.

Judge Humphrey and Judge Dulcich are the only two women to have held this position in the Kern County Superior Court history.

Judge Humphrey was the first female judge to be elected to the role of presiding judge. Her desire to be in the courtroom started when she was in 7th grade and saw her very first trial on a field trip.

“I kinda accidentally fell into my job at the DA’s office because I ran into a friend at the Kern DA’s office," Judge Humphrey said. "I ended up falling in love with in and staying there for 12 and half years before becoming a judge.”

Judge Dulcich says she attributes their success to the women who came before them and paved the road.

“There were female judges, but not many when we started, and they were the minority. They couldn’t find jobs because they were women," she said. "We didn’t experience that, the doors had opened.”

Now when you look at our local legal system you’ll find women at the forefront.

“There was a women in charge of the public defenders, there's a female district attorney, there’s a female county council, female city attorney, and there's female presiding and assistant presiding, all at the same time," she said.