Judge Alicia FuchsMultnomah County Circuit Court Judge Alicia Fuchs
The enthusiasm with which Judge Fuchs described being a judge in Multnomah County reflects her belief that one individual can make a difference. Judge Fuchs was elevated to the bench in January of 2003. While most lawyers, after over 15 years in the criminal justice system, would likely experience some level of disenchantment and frustration, Judge Fuchs has managed to maintain an impressive level of optimism and compassion.
Judge Alicia Fuchs grew up in Portland. She attended St. Mary's High School and, upon graduation, attended Gonzaga University, graduating in 1983. She chose Gonzaga University School of Law, graduating in 1986. After graduation, Judge Fuchs moved to Southern California where she briefly worked as a law clerk and in private practice. She became a member of the California Bar in 1987.
For the next five years she worked for the Los Angeles Public Defender's office where caseloads were substantial and she was able to experience trial practice that is only available in the criminal justice system of a major metropolitan area. There were over 400 lawyers in the Los Angeles Public Defender's office. The members of the public defender's office were civil service employees, as were the district attorneys. At times Judge Fuchs would be assigned to a trial court and would try cases, one after the other, in that trial court with the same district attorney and the same judge. She was able to get not only a tremendous amount of trial experience in this short period of time, but she also gained vast sociological experience associated with meeting and representing hundreds of criminal defendants.
Judge Fuchs became a member of the OSB in 1990. She returned to Oregon in 1991, in the private practice of criminal law. In 1994 she associated with the law firm of Voght, Calhoun & Fishback, focusing on criminal defense. During this time she was able to participate in major felony cases, including capital cases. In 1997, she was given the opportunity to become a referee, and subsequently sworn in as a judge in January 2003. Having worked on the defense side, she approaches her work from a broad perspective. Judge Fuchs appreciates that as the first judicial encounter by a defendant, she can have a tremendous impact. Ironically, she has even seen some of her own clients in the course of arraignments. She treats everyone in the courtroom with respect and fairness. More importantly, she understands the disorienting nature of the justice system and makes every effort to ensure that not only the rights of the defendant are protected, but also the defendant's dignity.
As further example of her work ethic, enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity, Judge Fuchs also completed an executive MBA program in 2003.
She loves civil trials as well as the criminal, and is one of a few judges doing aggravated murder cases.
Originally authored by Jeffrey Mutnick and printed in the May 2002 Multnomah Lawyer
Updated for the Internet in 2012