Judge Ochoa has a breadth of legal experience spanning 41 years. Judge Ochoa has served on the District Court bench since January, 2011. While in law school, he volunteered with the Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project, where he provided legal services to migrant farm workers in Berrien Springs, Michigan. After completing his education at Michigan State University and University of Notre Dame School of Law, he began his legal career in 1978 handling family, civil, and criminal cases as a law clerk for a Clark County District Judge. He went into private practice the following year handling civil and family law cases. He argued his first family law case in the Nevada Supreme Court in 1981. In 1982, Judge Ochoa had the privilege of representing the citizens of Nevada as a Nevada Deputy Attorney General.
For 31 years, Judge Ochoa managed his own practice in both Las Vegas and Reno representing families in cases including divorce, child custody, child support, and adoption. He represented minors in Family and Juvenile Courts for more than 25 years and parents in Family Court in abuse and neglect cases for more than 20 years, including appeals at the Nevada Supreme Court level. Since elected a District Judge in 2010, Judge Ochoa has heard and decided over 9,000 motion hearings on family law cases and decided nearly 600 bench trial/evidentiary hearings.
Judge Ochoa’s experience is not limited to family law; he has argued criminal cases of domestic violence and substance abuse/DUI, and a range of cases at all levels from Municipal Court, Nevada Supreme Court, Federal Court, and appeals to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (the highest court in the western US).
As a family man, Judge Ochoa brings his common-sense understanding of family issues and experiences to the bench. He and his wife Debra have a wonderful marriage of forty-seven years and raised four children in Clark County. They have three granddaughters. Judge Ochoa has the respect of the legal community. He was voted by his peers to serve as a member of the Board of Governors for the State Bar of Nevada from 2009 until taking the bench in 2011. This Board oversees the practice and policy of law in our state. Judge Ochoa earned positions on the State Guardianship Commission (2018 to present), Board of Directors for Southern Nevada Legal Service, Law Library Board of Directors (2007 to 2010) and Guardianship and Probate Judge (2018 and 2019).
Judge Ochoa was appointed as an Alternate Municipal Court Judge for the City of North Las Vegas, and served as Alternate Hearing Master in Clark County Juvenile Court, Arbitrator for the Clark County District Court, and Alternate Domestic Violence Commissioner.
He hopes to continue to serve the Family Court with dedication and respect to the persons that appear before him in court for another term.