Ryan Burns / @ 11:05 a.m. / Courts

Another Humboldt County Judge Retires: John Feeney Stepping Down From the Bench Next Month


Last week, Judge Dale Reinholtsen announced his retirement after more than 20 years on the bench; today his colleague Judge John T. Feeney did the same. 

Feeney will step down at the end of February, almost exactly 20 years after being sworn into office. The high-profile cases he’s adjudicated over the years include the murder trial of Gary Lee Bullock, who was convicted in 2016 of murdering St. Bernard Parish’s Father Eric Freed; a corruption case against former Fortuna Councilmember Debi August (which Feeney dismissed); and the wrongful death case brought by the mother of Curtis Huntzinger, who’d been killed and buried in the woods near Blue Lake almost 19 years before his killer confessed.

Here’s the press release from the Humboldt County Superior Court:

Judge John T. Feeney has announced his retirement from the Humboldt County Superior Court effective February 28, 2018, after serving for more than 20 years. Judge Feeney has expressed that it has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Humboldt County as a judge, saying, β€œTo have been entrusted with the duty and obligation to seek to render right and sensible decisions for two decades as a judicial officer has been both rewarding and humbling.  Thank you for this amazing opportunity.”

Presiding Judge Joyce Hinrichs commented on the announcement saying, β€œI would like to thank Judge Feeney for his many years of dedicated service to our Court. I, and the rest of the Court staff, wish him well in his retirement. We are pleased that he will be applying to the Assigned Judges Program so we will be able to continue to utilize his expertise.”

Judge Feeney received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of California, San Diego; a Master of Science degree in Criminalistics from California State University, Los Angeles; and a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School (Los Angeles).

Prior to his judicial career, he practiced law in Humboldt County for more than 17 years. Judge Feeney was sworn into office on the Humboldt County Municipal Court in February of 1998, following his appointment to that position on December 24, 1997. Upon consolidation of the Municipal and Superior Courts, he was sworn as a Superior Court Judge in June of 1998.

During his tenure on the bench, Judge Feeney has participated in the following:

  • creation of two mental health court programs;
  • lecturer at Crisis Intervention Training for law enforcement personnel for ten years;
  • creation of, and presiding judge of Humboldt Homeless and Caring Court since its inception in 2006 to present;
  • trustee of Humboldt County Law Library for approximately twelve years;
  • served on the Appellate Divisions of both Humboldt and Del Norte County Superior Courts; and
  • presiding judge of Humboldt County Superior Court for 2007-2008.

Judge Feeney is most appreciative of the support and friendship of his co-workers, past and present, with the Courts.


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