Santa Clara County Judge Johnny Gogo has been nominated by President Biden to serve as the top federal prosecutor in Guam, potentially setting up a notable homecoming for the native of the Pacific island territory.
The White House named Gogo, 55, earlier this month as part its latest round of judicial and law-enforcement nominees. He awaits confirmation by the U.S. Senate, for which a vote has yet to be scheduled.
Gogo, whose name had previously been floated for the position, welcomed the news in a brief statement to this news organization.
“I’m humbled and honored to be nominated and look forward to the confirmation process,” he said.
Gogo has served as a county judge since 2019, when he was tapped by Gov. Gavin Newsom to replace retiring Judge Hector Ramon. Before that, he spent about two decades at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, where he was known well for his work as a community-based prosecutor, in which he bridged immigrant communities and the court system and sought to intervene in serial truancy cases.
His family hails from Guam — a U.S. island territory in the western Pacific Ocean that has long been a key military and refueling hub — though he himself was born at a U.S. Army hospital in Germany. He grew up traveling the world for his father’s military career, which took them to Japan and Alaska and back to Guam, with stints in Kentucky and Barstow as well.
Gogo attended UC San Diego and earned his law degree in 1996 from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in that city, during which he forged his first connections with the federal justice system with an internship at that region’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.
After law school, he served as an assistant attorney general in the prosecution division of the Guam Attorney General’s Office. In 1999, he was hired as a prosecutor in Santa Clara County, then returned to Guam a year later to work at a private law firm. A year after that, he came back to the Bay Area to re-join the DA’s office and work there until he became a judge.