Originally from Torrance, Judge Gary Yoshio Tanaka received his B.S. from California State University, Long Beach and his J.D. from Western State University. After passing the California bar in 1991, he worked at Astor and Phillips where he focused his practice on real estate law, corporate law, and estate planning. Next, in 2000 he became a deputy public defender and then alternate public defender. In 2006, he joined the Office of County Counsel, where he remained until he was appointed to the bench by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009. He is a republican.