santa cruz judges
February 2020

These Judges Judge Your Kids

By Bob Derber

In a January GUiSC article, “Judges Matter”, author Annrae Angel was spot on: our Family Court judges impact Santa Cruz every day and in significant ways.  Their decisions touch our basic fabric – family structure and the protection of our children when parents are in conflict.

We are fortunate to have two ‘bench officers’ who are not just legal scholars.  They bring significant life-experiences to the court.  They are judges Paul Marigonda and Kim Baskett.

santa cruz judges

Most divorcing parents don’t hire attorneys, and they often appear before these judges to ‘make a call’ when they cannot agree upon a matter.  The two parents also often present very different pictures of the same circumstance.  There’s a great deal at stake, and they know the judge may ask them questions when they are in court.

But aside from being judges, who are these individuals?  

Firstly, both judges are parents themselves.  Like us, they navigated their own children through our Santa Cruz school system and dealt in their homes the same issues that we face.  They are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers and sons and daughters themselves. Both judges are now at or over 60 years of age and have a bundle of life-experiences that can help you understand where they are ‘coming from’.

Do you recall Pacific Pack and Pants on ‘the Mall’ in Santa Cruz.  Do you remember the tent it occupied when the ‘89 quake destroyed so many mall buildings.  Well, it was Judge Baskett managing the business as her father could not.   And while she ran the business, she was raising three children, attending night school and carried the worries of a mother whose husband, as a Santa Cruz Sheriff, faced danger daily.  Keep this in mind if you appear before her.

And Judge Marigonda?  Perhaps he cleared your table at his parent’s Italian restaurant while he was in high school. And before he became a judge, he served us as a team-member of the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s Office for years.  Scotts Valley residents will recall when he was a city councilman and mayor some 20 years ago.  All the while, his shepherded with his wife their two boys through the Scotts Valley schools.  Yes, the Marigonda names on the Scotts Valley High Falcon Football roster were his boys – and not all that long ago either!  

We are fortunate.  Our Family Court judges are parents themselves.  They know Santa Cruz and have faced many of the parental challenges we have.  When you appear before either, keep this in mind. 

I can personally attest both judges are extraordinary legal scholars and bring significant professional skills to the bench.  But first and foremost, they are personally vested in our community and to our families.  When you need it most, they are there to help, and they have been there themselves.


  • Pepe Muñoz

    Judge Marigonda has pancreatic cancer and has retired. It’s sad that he hurt so many children by acting like a crooked judge instead of a just and fair judge who takes the best interest of children into consideration. If you see the comments about him online, you find that he’s an unhinged lunatic who is truly evil when it comes to custody judgements. Doesn’t allow mental evaluations of dads to be considered, nor their criminal records or assault records. He doesn’t care about kids. He knowingly passes down the most horrifying judgements that damage children for their entire lives.

  • Angela R Allen

    Judge Marigonda,
    Separated my daughter and I for almost four months for absolutely no reason and in open court said I was charged with charges that were inaccurate. This almost destroyed my family. While I was fighting to get her back I visited the court mediators desk where I could hear him openly discussing other cases with the desk worker laughing and making fun of the parties. He is unprofessional,bias and a tyrant and I am happy to hear he’s retired. This man should be nowhere near a bench in this lifetime he is cruel and doesn’t take his job seriously!

  • Horrible human

    Absolutely self-centered and egotistical he’s the biggest cook next to almquist I can’t believe this guy ever lived in our community he was horrible and I hope he does something with his money in order to make things right and contributes to making our community a better place because he destroyed it by forcing children who were more local than his family and had been here longer to move out of town with a parent that never even lived in this town I mean come on Zero ability to be strait forward or fair. And definitely not been able to and here to keeping children’s best interest as the name of the game when you’re trying to make a ruling instead he sided with Council that he was buddy-buddy with and was the biggest cake I’ve ever seen what a phony full of baloney. Something’s going going on, Almquist died, Baskett was forced to retire and now he was forced to retire claiming pancreatic cancer, more like prostate cancer…so pay attention judges in Santa Cruz People are cleaning the house especially family court.

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