John Phillips is a long time resident of Monterey County, having served as Deputy District Attorney, Assistant District Attorney, Superior Court Judge and most recently, as Founder and President of Rancho Cielo Youth Campus.
In 1971 John joined the District Attorney’s office and was quickly appointed as the Assistant District Attorney in 1975, in charge of the Salinas office. He served as the Assistant District Attorney until he was appointed to the Monterey Superior Court Bench in 1984. He served on the Monterey County Bench for 21 years before his retirement in 2004.
While on the Bench he created the Domestic Violence Court and was the first chairman of the Domestic Violence Council. He also was responsible for the development of the Mental Health Court. He devoted many years on the Bench to the Family Law Court and was responsible for many of its current innovative services. He served as Presiding Judge in 1989, 1996 and from 1998-2000. In the last years of his position of Presiding Judge, he was instrumental in the combining of the Municipal and Superior Courts working through the difficult process of becoming one court system in Monterey County.
After many years of witnessing the tragic cycle of offending and incarceration of so many young people, in 2000, John and several other concerned citizens founded Rancho Cielo, a successful and innovative program for at risk youth. Since his retirement in 2004, he has devoted most of his time to the continued development of Rancho Cielo, working closely with the County of Monterey.
In addition to serving as the President of the Board of Rancho Cielo, John serves on the Board of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, and was formerly on the Board of Directors of the Gateway Center, member of the Mayor of Salinas Violence Prevention Task Force and the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace (CASP). He has been honored with the Salinas Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the year award, the Jefferson Award, Community Commitment to Peace Award from Partners for Peace, the Monterey County Bar Association Gibson Award, the Humanitarian Award from the American Culinary Federation and the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship Award.
John grew up in the Culver City area of Southern California. He served in the United States Army Reserve and graduated Cum Laude from Long Beach State College with a B.A. in Political Science. He attended Boalt Hall Law School at Berkeley, and after graduation from law school, practiced law as a civil litigator for a private law firm in Oakland.
John and his wife Patti live in the Prunedale area and raised three children; Sara, a teacher in Livermore, CA, Mike a teacher at Castroville School and Ellen who is currently attending Court Reporting School in the Bay Area. They have two grandchildren Michael and Peyton.