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Home / judge arrested

Orange County judge arrested in shooting death of wife

Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson, who was arrested on suspicion of murder in the fatal shooting of his wife at their Anaheim Hills home, was released on bail Friday.

Anaheim Police Department officers arrested Ferguson, 72, after they were called to his home just after 8 p.m. Thursday in the 8500 block of East Canyon Vista Drive on reports of a shooting. Inside the home, officers found 65-year-old Sheryl Ferguson, the judge’s wife, suffering from at least one gunshot wound, said Anaheim police Sgt. Jonathan McClintock.

Sheryl Ferguson was pronounced dead at the scene.

Judge Ferguson was booked into the Anaheim Jail and then later transferred to Orange County Jail on suspicion of murder and was being held on $1 million bail, McClintock said. He posted bond and was released at 2:05 p.m. Friday, according to jail records.

Police did not release further details of the alleged crime.

“Our thoughts go to the family,” Orange County Superior Court Presiding Judge Maria Hernandez said in a statement Friday morning.

“We all pray for their comfort during this trying time,” Hernandez said. “Although no case has been filed with our court, when appropriate, we will take all necessary steps to ensure full compliance with our legal and ethical obligations. As this is a pending matter still under investigation, the court is unable to provide any further information at this time.”

Orange County Superior Court leaders were advised of the arrest on Thursday night by Anaheim police, Hernandez said.

Law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that a son of the judge and his wife was at the home. The Fergusons had two sons, Kevin and Phillip, both adults.

Ferguson, a native of Oakland, earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and social ecology from UC Irvine in 1973. He earned his law degree in 1982 from Western State College of Law, beginning his legal career the following year in the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, where he later became a senior prosecutor assigned to the Major Narcotics Enforcement Team. He was president of the North Orange County Bar Association from 2012-14. The Orange County Narcotics Officers Association named him prosecutor of the year four times.

He became a judge in 2015.

In 2017, he was admonished by the state Commission on Judicial Performance for comments he made on Facebook about a prosecutor who was campaigning to be a jurist and for maintaining “friends” status with three defense attorneys who had cases before him.

Sheryl Ferguson previously worked for the Santa Barbara and Orange County probation departments and later for the American Funds Service Company for almost 20 years prior to becoming a full-time mother.

Attorney Joel Garson told City News Service he got to know Sheryl Ferguson when he was a Boy Scout leader and her son Phillip was in his troop.

“She would come to all of the meetings,” Garson said. “She was very active in his progress in Boy Scouts and even after him making eagle scout she would show up at old troop functions. … She did T-shirt sales and whatever was asked of her. A lot of parents are drop-off parents and you never see them, but she was very active on the scout committee.”

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