Laurie Earl
Democracy in Action Academy Instructor


Judge Laurie Earl took her seat on the Sacramento Superior Court in 2005, appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She created and leads the Democracy in Action Academy, formerly the Civic Duty Academy for High School Students, where she gives students a behind-the-scenes look at the three branches of government.

Judge Earl started her legal career in 1989 as an assistant public defender in the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office. In 1995, she became a deputy district attorney in the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. During her career as a prosecutor, she worked in a number of divisions, most notably the domestic violence, sexual assault, and homicide divisions.

In 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger named her a senior assistant inspector general for the State of California. Assigned to the newly created Bureau of Independent Review, she was the Northern California regional supervisor in charge of independent review of the Department of Correction’s internal affairs investigations.

Upon appointment to the Sacramento Superior Court, Judge Earl spent three years in a general trial department before transferring to one of the Sacramento County jail courtrooms, where she spent two years handling felony arraignments, pleas, sentencing, and criminal law and motion matters. 

In 2010, Judge Earl returned to a general trial assignment handling both criminal and civil trials. She served as the court’s assistant presiding judge in 2010 and 2011. Her colleagues elected her presiding judge in 2011 and she served a two-year term. She is currently assigned to the Sacramento Superior Court’s juvenile dependency division.

Judge Earl has been recognized by her alma mater, Lincoln Law School of Sacramento, as Alumnus of the Year in 2005 and 2012, as Judge of the Year by both the Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association in 2010 and the Sacramento County Bar Association in 2013.  

In 2013, Judge Earl received the Judicial Council of California’s highest recognition, the Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence, for her leadership working with trial court judges and executive officers in the way state funding is allocated to each of the 58 trial courts.