Aug. 19 — Trailblazing Women in Law to be Honored

July 1, 2017

VENTURA COUNTY — Judges Colleen Toy White and Michele Castillo will be honored by Ventura County Women’s Political Council at the annual VCWPC Garden Party on Saturday, August 19, 2017, 1 to 4 pm, in the President’s Courtyard at California State University Channel Islands. Tickets and further details are available at

A teen wife and mother from a small rural town who had initially aspired to be a high school coach, Toy White moved halfway across the country, graduated from Ventura School of Law and became a Superior Court Judge instead.  Her path to judgeship included an 18-year stint as an Assistant District Attorney and as the Chief Assistant District for Ventura County.

Judge White, who recently retired from the Court after 23 years, was presiding judge in 2007 and 2008.  She was named Judge of the Year in 2014 by the Ventura Trial Lawyers Association for her excellence as a judge and for her compassion and courtesy to litigants and attorneys. She also spearheaded the creation of specialty intervention courts for parents, elders and veterans that connect participants with counseling, drug and other services to help them avoid incarceration and recidivism. In 2016, Judge White received the Benjamin J. Aranda III for this work.

Michele Castillo was appointed to the Ventura Superior Court by Governor Jerry Brown in June of 2016, becoming the first Latina Superior Court Judge in Ventura County.  Judge Castillo has stated that she was inspired to study law by her second grade class study of Martin Luther King.

Judge Castillo, a native Californian, graduated from UCLA and from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. She was a Ventura County Court Commissioner from August 2014 until she was elevated to the Superior Court. Prior to that, she was a Deputy Public Defender for nine years in Ventura County and for two years in Fresno County. In 2017, Judge Castillo was named “Woman of the Year” of the 44th Assembly District by Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin.  While still in law school, Judge Castillo was named Outstanding Woman Law Graduate by the National Association of Women Lawyers. She also received the Charles C. Humber Civil Libertarian Award and the Trustee’s Scholarship Award for Academic Excellence.

These women are emblematic of their generation of women and the part of American culture into which they were born.  They are inspiring examples of women who found ways to rise above gender and cultural constraints to reach professional and civic excellence.

“We are fortunate to have these incredible women as part of our judiciary system in Ventura County,” said Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios, VCWPC President. “While one is leaving a successful legacy of advocacy for some of the most vulnerable population in our county, including women and children, the other is starting her career already paving the way for others to follow.  We are excited to give them the spotlight so others can recognize the great work that has already been done and that is yet to be accomplished.”

Tickets for the event are $35/members; $45/non-members. Sponsor and tribute opportunities are available. RSVP at For more information:

VCWPC is a multi-partisan organization whose objective is to achieve equality for all women. We encourage, recruit, train and support women candidates who will advance the goals of VCWPC and bring women’s perspectives to every issue, foremost including reproductive health; and social, educational, environmental and economic justice.

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