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Tuesday November 8, 2022 — California General Election
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San Diego County Superior CourtCandidate for Judge, Office 36

Photo of Peter Singer

Peter Singer

Superior Court Commissioner
408,535 votes (39.2%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Already on the Superior Court bench as a court commissioner, I pledge to continue to provide fair and impartial judgment in the matters before me, always maintaining respect, patience and courage to make the difficult decisions.
  • To expand access to justice to those whose business comes before the court, bearing in mind the difficulties that some litigants experience in having their day in court. I would like to see the availability of remote court appearances remain.
  • To never lose perspective and continuing to be mindful that I am a public servant. My role is to serve the community with dignity, courtesy, patience and respect while exercising good judgment.



Profession:Superior Court Commissioner, Superior Court of CA
Superior Court Commissioner, San Diego Superior Court (2015–current)
Commissioner of the Superior Court, Superior Court of California, County of San Diego — Appointed position (2015–current)
Faculty Member, B.E. Witkin California Judicial College — Appointed position (2019–current)
Solo Practice Attorney, Law Officer of Peter W. Singer (1987–2015)
Pro Tem (Temporary) Judge, San Diego Municipal Court and Superior Court of California, County of San Diego — Appointed position (1993–2015)
Firefighter, Vice President, Secretary, Willingboro (NJ) Fire Department — Appointed position (1976–1979)


Western State University, College of Law Juris Doctor of Law, Law (1986)
Rutgers College (of Rutgers University) Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Human Communication, Philosophy (1980)

Community Activities

President and CEO, Lions Community Service Corporation (2019–2022)
President and Chair of the Board, San Diego Lions Welfare Foundation (2016–2017)
President, Downtown San Diego (Host) Lions Club (2015–2016)
President, Temple Adat Shalom Men's Club (2014–2015)
President and Chair of the Board, San Diego Lions Welfare Foundation (2006–2007)


Peter Singer was hired following a vote of San Diego Superior Court judges and serves as a Commissioner of the San Diego Superior Court.  He presides over a high-volume courtroom at the Kearny Mesa branch where he handles criminal infractions and small claims cases.  Commissioner Singer has also covered the unlawful detainer division of the Court and serves on several of the Court’s committees.  By appointment of the Chief Justice of California, Singer serves on the Judicial Council’s Traffic Advisory Committee.


Since becoming a court commissioner in 2015, Singer has been honored as California’s Court Commissioner of the Year and he currently holds the position of president of the California Court Commissioners Association.  Before coming to the bench full-time, Commissioner Singer operated his own solo law firm for 28 years, where his practice involved primarily civil law cases, including personal injury, real estate litigation, commercial collections, mental health and probate.  During that period, he served the Superior Court (and the former Municipal Court) as a temporary judge for 22 years, as well as providing service as an arbitrator on the business and personal injury panels.  Throughout his career as an attorney, Singer was always engaged in issues involving the housing insecure and mentally ill, initially focusing on LPS conservatorships and developmental disability matters and later, representing prison inmates in involuntary medication cases.


Commissioner Singer was recruited by the California Judicial Education and Research (CJER) division of the Judicial Council to serve as an instructor for new judges and commissioners.  He presently teaches New Judge Orientation, Primary Assignment training and he is also a faculty member and seminar group leader at the B.E. Witkin Judicial College, having most recently served for two weeks in June 2022.

In September 2022, Commissioner Singer will be presenting the Commissioner of the Year award to a deserving California Court Commissioner at the annual meeting of the California Judges Association.


Singer is extensively engaged in community service, having started as a volunteer firefighter many years ago.  He is a 33-year member of the Downtown San Diego Lions Club, where, in the Club’s 100-year history, Singer is the only person to have twice served as president.  Additionally, he has twice served as the volunteer CEO of the charitable Lions Welfare Foundation, which has awarded millions of dollars in grants, and at the end of June, he completed a multi-year term as the volunteer CEO of the Lions Community Service Corporation (LCSC), a 501(c)(3) which owns and operates a 131-unit low-income senior community at 310 Market Street in San Diego.  Because of the extreme need for affordable housing in the region, Singer has recently spearheaded the refinancing of the existing project for the purpose of unencumbering $34MM+ in order to replicate LCSC’s outstanding housing endeavors.  As if that were not enough, Commissioner Singer has served the San Diego community as a volunteer emergency services worker, provided free legal services to fire victims, a volunteer for Stand Down (for homeless veterans) and as Troop Cookie Manager for multiple years in his daughters’ Girl Scout troops.


Peter Singer is a longtime resident of Scripps Ranch, where he and his wife, BeLinda, have raised their two (now adult) daughters.


Questions & Answers

Questions from Source: League of Women Voters of San Diego and League of Women Voters of North County San Diego (1)

Do you label yourself "tough on crime" and, if so, what does that mean to you? Should convicted criminals always get the maximum sentence? Should a judge always go along with the sentence requested by a prosecutor?
Answer from Peter Singer:

I would not label myself "tough on crime" or "easy on crime."  I have a long and respected history on the bench and to adopt one of those labels would undermine my ability to be fair and impartial.  Every case is different and should be treated accordingly.  I do not believe that the maximum sentence is always appropriate, however, it certainly is in some cases.  Again, my job is to evaluate the facts and consider what is appropriate to each case individually.  Likewise, a judge's job is not to always go along with the sentence recommended by the prosecution, nor would it be suitable to automatically go along with what the defense is proposing.

As the neutral umpire, a judge’s role is to be fair and impartial while being respectful and exercising patience.  In sentencing considerations, the court must be mindful of the severity of a crime, victims’ rights, protecting the public, restitution and appropriate punishment.

Questions from League of Women Voters of San Diego and League of Women Voters of North County San Diego (1)

Would you say that the San Diego County Bar Association's judicial evaluation of you is a fair and accurate assessment of your qualifications? If not, which aspects of your experience may have been overlooked or undervalued?
Answer from Peter Singer:

I am disappointed by the SDCBA's evaluation of my qualifications.  The SDCBA’s JEEC evaluation is completely opaque, with the belief that confidentiality “ensures candid feedback from members of the legal community and public….”  Perhaps not considered is that such secrecy provides an opportunity for detractors to make baseless and irrelevant accusations without their identities ever being revealed.

My body of work on the bench has been without reproach.  My supervising judges have continually given me impeccable reviews and I have been honored to have been selected -- and serve -- as an educator for new judges and commissioners statewide.  I rule on hundreds of cases each month, so it is understandable that disgruntled litigants and attorneys might see this review process as an opportunity for retribution with anonymity.  In addition, having been involved in extensive litigation as an attorney, I am certain that some people might have an axe to grind.  I am disturbed that the JEEC committee may have received hundreds or more shining evaluations, yet only desired to discuss a handful of vague criticisms during my interview.

I was hired by the judges of the San Diego Superior Court from a pool of 137 applicants.  I have since received glowing employee evaluations from the Court -- all of which I have made public on my website:

I serve on multiple volunteer committees of the Superior Court.  I annually serve as a judge for the high school moot court competition, and I teach constitutional law in the Judges in the Classroom program.  I have been selected as California Court Commissioner of the Year, elected president of the California Court Commissioners Association, I serve on an advisory committee by appointment of California's Chief Justice, and I am an instructor for new commissioners and judges from around the State as a faculty member of California's Judicial College. 

I preside daily in a busy, public courtroom, accessible both virtually and in person.  I would have hoped that an evaluation of a sitting bench officer would include observation of how that person conducts business in court.  It seems impossible to me that my qualifications, experience, and respectful treatment of those who appear before me were accurately considered in the evaluation.

I was informed that the letter of criticisms provided "is not reflective of the tenor or content of the majority of the responses received."  One reported criticism was that I lack trial experience.  As an attorney, I handled well in excess of 1,000 trials.  On the bench, as a temporary judge for 22 years coupled with my almost seven years as a commissioner, I have handled many thousands of trials.

When I received my JEEC rating in an email from the County Bar, the committee chair stated that "no further communication will be made from me regarding this confidential process and I will be unable to respond to any further questions."  It should be noted that I had not posed any questions prior to my receiving that notification. 

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