Rod Shelton was elected to the San Diego Superior Court Bench on November 7, 2006. He was sworn into seat number 36 on January 8, 2007. Seat number 36 was vacated by retired San Diego Superior Court Judge, Joe O. Littlejohn. He was the first African-American attorney to be elected to Superior Court in a county-wide election. He has presided over domestic violence court, misdemeanor and felony arraignments, family law, and juvenile delinquency. He currently presides over criminal trials in Department 7 at the South County Courthouse.
Prior to his election to the bench, Rod Shelton was a deputy District Attorney in San Diego. Rod served in the Gang Prosecution Unit where he was responsible for prosecuting gang-related cases. Before joining the DA’s Office, Rod served as a Deputy Public Defender for the County of San Diego for four years. Rod received his Bachelor’s Degree from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as Captain of the football team and was named All-Conference Defensive Back. Rod also received numerous academic awards as an undergraduate, including the Ralph M. Bunch Award for academic excellence. Rod received his Juris Doctor from the UCLA School of Law, where he was president of the local chapter of Black Law Students Association and served on the national board.
Rod’s desire to serve his community has run throughout his career. He was named an Urban Leader Under 40 by the Urban League in 2004; won the Distinguish Service Award from the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association in 2001, where he instituted the High School Shadow Program as well as the Junior High Mock Trial Program and served as the group’s president; and received the Thurgood Marshall Award for outstanding career achievement, leadership and service to the San Diego Community in 2005. He has coached youth football, basketball, baseball and lacrosse. Rod is currently teaching criminal justice classes at a local community college.
Rod was born in San Jose, California and grew up in Westchester County in New York. Rod is married to Deanna Shelton, a community college professor, and the father of three children. Rod attends Bonita Valley Community Church and is a life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. as well as a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (Boule). Rod is a past president and life member of the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, a life member of the California Association of Black Lawyers, a life member of the NAACP, and a founding member of African-American Alliance California Judicial Officers.