Thomas M. Goethals

Thomas M. Goethals

Associate Justice
Division Three
Since 2018

Thomas M. Goethals was appointed to the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, by Governor Jerry Brown. Justice Goethals was rated “exceptionally well qualified” for the position by the California State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees, and he was confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments on January 25, 2018. Prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeal, Justice Goethals had served as a judge of the Superior Court in Orange County since 2003. For two years he was the supervisor of Orange County’s felony trial courts.

Justice Goethals was born in 1952 in Glendale, California. He graduated from Loyola High School, Santa Clara University, and Loyola Law School. After passing the California Bar Exam, Justice Goethals worked for the Orange County District Attorney, where he supervised both the Homicide Unit and the Law and Motion Panel. He also worked for the law firm then known as Robinson and Robinson. In 1990, he joined the firm which became Pohlson, Moorhead and Goethals, where he remained until his appointment to the Superior Court. During his twenty-five years in practice, Justice Goethals tried nearly 200 jury trials, including both civil and criminal matters. At the time of his appointment to the Superior Court, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Bar Association.

Justice Goethals was an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Loyola Law School, from 1998 through 2017. He has also been an adjunct professor at Whittier Law School. Justice Goethals has taught his fellow judges through the CJER program since 2008.

Justice Goethals has been married since 1976 to his high school sweetheart. He and his wife, Patty, have three married children and a growing gaggle of grandchildren.