Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
MapLight
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
We depend on your support.
Invest in unbiased information

Text VOTE to 52000 to donate $10.

With your support, we can reach and inform more voters.

Donate now to spread the word.

Judicial

San Diego County Superior CourtCandidate for Judge, Office 36

Photo of Michelle Ialeggio

Michelle Ialeggio

Deputy District Attorney, County of San Diego
Use tab to activate the candidate button. Use "return" to select this candidate. You can access your list by navigating to 'My Choices'.
For more in-depth information on this candidate, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.
Candidate has provided information.
Thank candidate for sharing their information on Voter's Edge.

My Top 3 Priorities

  • Ethically uphold the law: As a judicial officer it is my job not to make the law, but to follow the law. As the San Diego District Attorney's ethics advisor for over 300 attorneys, I am a proven ethical leader.
  • Equality: Fairness and an unwavering commitment to justice for all. As Vice President of California Women Lawyers I am a proven advocate for advancing the equality of everyone, promoting diversity, and ensuring that true justice is blind.
  • Ensuring the safety of our community by serving with fairness, integrity, and humility. I have served as a Deputy District Attorney prosecuting some of the most heinous crimes our community sees.

Experience

Experience

Profession:San Diego Deputy District Attorney
Deputy District Attorney, San Diego County District Attorney's Office (2005–current)
San Diego District Attorney's Ethics Advisor, San Diego District Attorney's Office — Appointed position (2018–current)
First Vice-President California Women Lawyers, California Women Lawyers — Elected position (2019–current)
California Women Lawyers First Vice President, California Women Lawyers-statewide bar association for women in California with headquarters in Sacramento — Elected position (2019–current)
Service by a Public Attorney Award, San Diego County Bar Association — Appointed position (2018–2018)
Lawyers Club of San Diego Vice President, Lawyers Club of San Diego-advancing the status of women in the law and society — Elected position (2012–2013)

Education

University of San Diego School of Law Juris Doctorate, Law (2004)
Unviersity of Southern California Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and Print Journalism (2001)

Biography

Michelle Ialeggio is a 15-year San Diego Deputy District Attorney who has dedicated her career to standing up for the most vulnerable in our society, children. She has strong trial experience with over 50 jury trials, including murder, child molestation, stalking, domestic violence, strangulation, elder abuse and violent crimes. Michelle is a litigator who is in the courtroom every single day. As a trial attorney and supervisor in the Family Protection Unit of the San Diego District Attorney’s office, Michelle oversaw a team of attorneys while also prosecuting many high-profile cases covered in the local news. In 2015 Michelle was awarded the outstanding achievement award from the San Diego Deputy District Attorney’s Association for her trial accomplishments and for bringing justice to victims in San Diego.  One of Michelle’s most cherished belongings is a picture hanging in her office of a 6-year-old molest victim hugging a court service dog, who along with Michelle, gave the child the courage to testify against her abuser in court.

As a prosecutor, Michelle has handled and evaluated over four thousand (4,000) criminal cases, learning how to make issuing decisions to ensure cases are issued and charged in an ethical manner and that alternatives to prison are in place when appropriate. In 2018, Michelle was appointed the San Diego District Attorneys Ethics Advisor, where she leads over 300 Deputy District Attorney’s in the area of office-wide ethics. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, her alma mater.

Michelle has experience working collaboratively in the community. From 2016 to 2018 she served as a liaison at San Diego’s Family Justice Center where she worked directly with sexual assault and domestic violence victims and shared in an interdisciplinary approach to crimes involving domestic violence.  In 2014, Michelle was one of the founding members of the Human Trafficking Task Force and worked side-by-side with community leaders, elected officials, and Deputy Public Defenders to raise awareness of the growing and overwhelming problem of human trafficking in San Diego. Michelle has earned respect from judges and the criminal defense bar as well as the San Diego legal community, where she served on the board of directors for Lawyers Club of San Diego and currently is the First-Vice President of California Women Lawyers.

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters of San Diego (LWVSD) and the League of Women Voters of North County San Diego (LWVNCSD) (3)

What is the most significant challenge facing the San Diego Superior Court over the next decade, and if you are elected, how will you help to address it?
Answer from Michelle Ialeggio:

The judicial cannons prohibit me from making statements that tie a candidate to cases, controversies or issues that are likely to come before the courts. Therefore, I cannot answer how if elected I would help address the significant challenges we face to our court system. However, generally, I believe criminal justice reform can be accomplished by justice partners working collaboratively. The court, district attorney, defense bar, probation and law enforcement must continue to work together while simultaneously balancing community safety. I am proud to be a part of the legal community actively working to improve criminal justice. In San Diego the key stakeholders collaboratively balance alternatives to prison like homeless court, mental health court and rehabilitation for nonviolent offenders.

 

Too many parolees return to our community and re-offend, the majority with untreated substance abuse and mental health issues. I believe prioritizing housing and post-release programs is essential for the reintegration of offenders and to inspire the best chance at future success. Last year I attended the East County Drug Court graduation and saw the success participants achieve when supported by our criminal justice system. Programs like Drug Court can transform participants’ lives, inspire others and keep participants from returning to crime. Thi is one significant change the San Diego Superior Court are currently working on and making a huge difference which we need to continue.

What action (personal or professional) that you have taken most exemplifies how you would execute the duties of the office you are running for?
Answer from Michelle Ialeggio:

I received the 2018 Service by a Public Attorney Award from the San Diego County Bar Association. This award exemplifies that I am an exceptionally well-qualified candidate to serve our community as a Superior Court judge. This award is given to a lawyer who has a combination of excellence in the practice of law in the public sector with signifciant service to the community, to mentoring, to the legal profession and to legal education. I see serving as a judge to be the highest honor and calling of public service. I am proud that my work as an attorney and in our community has previously been awarded and recognized. This demonstrates my reputation in the legal community and that the public can trust me to do the right thing as a judicial officer and serve with civility, honor, ethics and professionalism.

Would you say that the San Diego County Bar Association's judicial evaluation of you (see https://www.sdcba.org/index.cfm?pg=JudicialEvaluations ) is a fair and accurate assessment of your qualifications? If not, which aspects of your experience may have been overlooked or undervalued?
Answer from Michelle Ialeggio:

I was rated "Exceptionallly Qualified" by the San Diego County Bar Association, which is the highest rating possible. To reach this rating a 21 member committee evaluted 15 different factors including, fairness and objectivity, integrity and honesty, decisiveness, judgment and common sense, judicial temperament, knowledge of the law, professional reputation, trial experience, intellect and ability, tolerance and lack of bias, caseload management, courtesy and patience, writing and research skills, and compassion and understanding. Race, gender, sexual orientation, relition and political affiliation and type of law practice were not factors in the evaluation process. I am deeply honored the San Diego County Bar Association has found that I presently possess exceptional professional abilities, experience, competence, integrity and temperament indicating an exceptional ability to perform the judicial function. I fully agree with this rating.

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (3)

What kinds of cases did you deal with over your career as a practicing lawyer?
Answer from Michelle Ialeggio:

I have handled in excess of 4,000 criminal cases. It is important a candidate come from a solid legal background. I have won awards for my work as a trial attorney, both by the San Diego District Attorney's Association for "Outstanding Achievement" as well as a "Top Attorney," by the San Diego daily transcript. I have strong jury trial experinece which sets me apart. It is important a judge have broad experience. I have handled cases involving driving under the influence, murder, manslaughter, violent crimes like rape, robbery and assaults, crimes against children and families such as molestation, domestic violence, elder abuse and property crimes which impact our community daily.

Additionally, I have handled 4 civil trials dealing with mentally disordered offenders and those who had been deemed to be not guilty by reason of insanity.

 

I served as a supervisor for other attorneys while in the Family Protection Unit of the District Attorney's office. Currently, I am the ethics advisor for the San Diego District Attorney's office where I oversee 330 attorneys in prosecutorial ethics.

Overall, do you feel the criminal justice system works fairly and effectively in your county?  If not, why not?
Answer from Michelle Ialeggio:

As I have stated, criminal justice needs to be collaborative justice. I am proud that San Diego County and the San Diego District Attorneys Office has a Collaborative Courts Division. This division, was created in response to the 2011 Criminal Justice Realignment Act – also known as AB 109. AB 109 shifted the supervision, housing and treatment of felony offenders from the state to the county. This created a new population of high-risk, high-needs offenders who require a change in how they are sentenced and released into the community. This unit advocates for the best solutions to protect public safety while transitioning offenders back into society with appropriate treatment and supervision to reduce the likelihood of recidivism. This division provides training on all legal aspects of AB 109 and evidence-based practices and it represents the District Attorney’s Office on the Behavioral Health Court, Central and East County Drug Courts, Reentry Court, Veteran’s Treatment Court, Homeless Court, and Veterans Stand Down. Each of these courts is staffed by a regularly assigned Deputy District Attorney who specializes in the intricacies of that particular court. As a deputy district attorney I have worked with the collaborative courts division and handled many cases where offenders got treataement rather than incarceration. Locally, I am proud of the partnership the probation department, public defender's office, district attorneys office and the judicial officers have created to work together in the area of criminal justice.

Do you think courts do a good job of handling civil cases in your county?  If not, why not?
Answer from Michelle Ialeggio:

It is important that every type of case, civil, criminal, family, dependency, probate etc. be treated importantly. Often times in San Diego county civil cases include both limited civil cases ($25,000 or less) and unlimited civil cases (over $25,000). These type of cases historically involve an action where a person, group, buisness or other legal entity brings an action to recover money or property, to enforce a contract, or to protect someone's civil rights. Courts are always working to improve. One of the ways we have achieved that is with E-Filing which allows attorneys and the public to file documents with the court without physically having to come to the courthouse. One of the ways we can improve is to limit the number of continuances and postponments of court hearings and civil trials which can create a backlog of cases.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

The judicial cannons prohibit a judicial candidate from making a statement which ties a candidate to an issue, case or controversy which is likely to come before them. Therefore, I will describe my political philosphy braodly. First, it is important to note judicial offices are nonpartisan positions. As a judicial officer I would uphold the law. It is important a judicial officer make this commitment even if a judge personally disagrees with a law. I am proud to have received endorsements from San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan, Public Defender Randy Mize and City Attorney Mara Elliott along with Sheriff William Gore, retired Board of Supervisor Ron Roberts as well as Senator Toni Atkins, Assembleymember Todd Gloria and Congressman Juan Vargas. This wide support which crosses party lines should impress upon voters my commitment to being fair and doing the right thing.

Candidate Contact Info

Campaign Name: Michelle Ialeggio for Judge 2020

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.

PUBLISHING:PRODUCTION SERVER:PRODUCTION