Navajo Sunshine Sykes Appointed First Riverside County American Indian Judge


Newly Appointed Judge Sunshine Sykes (Navajo)_

Newly Appointed Judge Sunshine Sykes (Navajo)

SACRAMENTO – California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the appointment of Sunshine S. Sykes to a judgeship in the Riverside County Superior Court. She will be sworn in before the end of the year.

Sykes is a tribal citizen of the Navajo Nation and was born to the Coyote Pass Clan.

She will become the first American Indian ever to be appointed to the Riverside County Superior Court, according to the court officials.

Sykes is a graduate of Stanford University Law School. She has an undergraduate Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Stanford University majoring in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis and graduated with honors in 1997.

After taking a year off and working as an intern at California Indian Legal Services in Oakland, CA, she began Stanford Law School. During law school, she clerked at California Indian Legal Services in Oakland, California and DNA People’s Legal Services in Tuba City, Arizona focusing on issues concerning federal Indian law.

Sykes, 39, of Riverside, California, has served as a deputy county counsel at the Riverside County Office of County Counsel since 2005. She was a contract attorney at the Juvenile Defense Panel from 2003 to 2005. Sykes was a staff attorney and Equal Justice Works fellow at the California Indian Legal Services from 2001 to 2003. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University.

She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Randall White.

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