Gary Tanaka is a Judge on the bench in Torrance Superior Court. Judge Tanaka is a well respected Jurist among the criminal defense bar and prosecutors. He currently presides over preliminary hearings in the Torrance Court as of December 2018.
As a Judge in a prelim Court he presides over felony cases in their early stage, determining whether there is enough evidence to hold the Defendant for trial. It is a very demanding assignment. His previous assignment was in Division P of the Torrance Court which hears primarily misdemeanor criminal cases originating in Manhattan Beach, Gardena and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Prior to his tenure in the Torrance Court he was a sitting Judge in Compton where he heard criminal matters.
Judge Tanaka has a reputation for being fair and impartial to both sides, has a great judicial temperament and gives well thought out and reasoned legal decisions. From the perspective of a Defense Attorney he is a great Judge to appear in front of, he is respectful to all sides and very thoughtful in his decision making process. As a local South Bay Lawyer, I am often asked whether he would be a good Judge to have, the answer is always yes.
Prior to his appointment in 2009 he had served as a deputy county counsel then senior deputy county counsel for the Los Angeles Office of the County Counsel since 2006. Prior to that, he was a deputy alternate public defender for the Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender’s Office from 2001 to 2006 and a deputy public defender for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office from 2000 to 2001. From 1991 to 2000, Tanaka was an associate for Astor & Phillips. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Western State University College of Law and a Bachelor of Science degree from Western State University. Because of his experience as an alternate public defender he has great knowledge and practical understanding of criminal law.