Darleen Ortega

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Darleen Ortega
Judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals
Assumed office
Appointed byTed Kulongoski
Preceded byJacob Tanzer
Personal details
Bornc. 1962
Montebello, California
Alma materGeorge Fox University
University of Michigan
OccupationAttorney, jurist

Darleen Ortega (born c. 1962) is an American attorney and judge in the state of Oregon. A native of California, she has served on the Oregon Court of Appeals since 2003. She is the first woman of Hispanic heritage and the first woman of color to serve on that court.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ortega was born Darleen Mock in Montebello, California, to a Caucasian father and Mexican-American mother.[1][2] She grew up in the Los Angeles area until age 10 when her family moved to Banks, Oregon, west of Portland.[1] There she graduated from Banks High School in 1980 as a valedictorian.[1][2] She went on to college at George Fox College (now George Fox University) in Newberg, Oregon.[1] She graduated in 1984 with a bachelor of arts degree in writing and literature, earning summa cum laude honors.[2]

Ortega married, becoming Darleen Darnall, and enrolled at the University of Michigan Law School.[1] She graduated in 1989 with her juris doctorate cum laude.[2] After passing the bar, she entered private legal practice in Detroit, Michigan, and lived in Michigan with her husband until 1992.[1] In 1992, Ortega returned to Oregon and began working at the Portland law firm of Bullivant Houser Bailey, remaining until 1995.[1] She moved to another Portland firm, Davis Wright Tremaine, in 1995 where she remained until 2003, becoming partner in 1998.[1] In 2002, she took her maternal grandparents' last name, Ortega.[1] She has been active in the Oregon State Bar, served on the board of directors to the Oregon Adoption & Family Services as well as a center at Oregon Health & Science University and on the board for the Oregon Women Lawyers group (OWLS).[1][2]

Political career[edit]

On August 4, 2003, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski appointed Ortega to the Oregon Court of Appeals to replace Rives Kistler, who had been elevated to the Oregon Supreme Court.[3][4] Ortega joined the court on October 13, 2003, and won election to a full six-year term on the court in 2004.[3] She was the first woman of Hispanic heritage and the first woman of color to serve on the court.[1][5] In 2005, she signed off on an opinion of the court that determined that under the Oregon Constitution, law enforcement must obtain a search warrant prior to searching trash placed on the curb for pick-up.[6][7]

Ortega was re-elected to the Court of Appeals in 2010 and 2016, and her current term ends on January 1, 2023.[8][9]

In 2017, Oregon Supreme Court justice Jack Landau announced his retirement.[10] The Oregon State Bar included Ortega on its list of nine high-qualified candidates that Governor Kate Brown could pick from when filling the Supreme Court vacancy.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Collins, Cliff (November 2003). "Profiles in the Law: An Eye for Public Service". Oregon State Bar Bulletin. Oregon State Bar.
  2. ^ a b c d e The Honorable Darleen Ortega. Archived 2009-04-21 at the Wayback Machine Court of Appeals Judges, Oregon Judicial Department. Retrieved on January 1, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Oregon Blue Book: Appeals Court Judges of Oregon. Oregon State Archives. Retrieved on January 1, 2009.
  4. ^ Larabee, Mark (August 5, 2003). "Appeals judge named to State Supreme Court". The Oregonian. pp. A1.
  5. ^ Law, Steve (September 12, 2004). "Government at Face Value". Statesman Journal. pp. 1A.
  6. ^ Green, Ashbel S. (March 31, 2005). "Searching garbage requires warrant, appeals court rules". The Oregonian. pp. A1.
  7. ^ State v. Galloway, 198 Ore. App. 585, 109 P.3d 383 (2005).
  8. ^ Brown, Kate (May 2010). "Official Results, May 18, 2010, Primary Election" (PDF). Oregon Secretary of State. State of Oregon. p. 54. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  9. ^ Atkins, Jeanne (May 2016). "May 17, 2016, Primary Election Abstract of Votes" (PDF). Oregon Secretary of State. State of Oregon. p. 85. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  10. ^ "Oregon Supreme Court Justice Jack Landau Announces Retirement" (PDF). Oregon Judicial Department. State of Oregon. September 19, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  11. ^ "Oregon Judicial Vacancies". Oregon State Bar. Oregon State Bar Association. December 2017. Retrieved December 27, 2017.

External links[edit]