Melissa A. Kerns



Melissa Kerns (formerly Ignacio) focuses on criminal defense, juvenile law, and litigation. Her practice ranges from complex serious felony matters to simple misdemeanor DUI cases. She is a graduate of UC Davis School of Law, where she served as an editor on the UC Davis Law Review Vol. 44, and was a chairperson of the Trial Practice Honors Board.

Shortly after receiving her state bar license in December 2011, Ms. Kerns was hired as Solano County's very first special prosecutor assigned to the then-newly-created Public Safety Realignment Unit. She obtained specialized knowledge in alternative sentencing of low-level felony offenders and community-based supervision of parolees. She has worked closely with probation officers and mental health experts to develop an acute understanding of individual offenders suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.

As a former Deputy District Attorney, she has tried a wide array of misdemeanor and felony cases to verdict. She has conducted several hundred evidentiary hearings, including felony preliminary hearings, probation violation hearings, motions to suppress evidence. She also worked in the Juvenile Unit, where she learned about accountability and competency development needs of youth offenders in a rehabilitative court system.

In addition to extensive trial and courtroom experience, she gained familiarity with appellate work while interning at the California Attorney General’s Office, Criminal Appeals and Writs Division. She has filed briefs in the First and Third District Courts of Appeals. While attending law school, she worked as a law clerk at the U.S. Attorney's Eastern District office, where she was assigned to the fire litigation unit. During that time she performed early legal research in the federal negligence case against Sierra Pacific Industry for the 2007 Moonlight Fire in Lassen County.

Ignacio, M. (2018). "It's Not Called Marijuana Anymore." Contra Costa Lawyer Magazine, February Issue.

Contra Costa County Bar Association
Contra Costa Criminal Conflict Program
Filipino Bar Association of Northern California
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Solano County
California State Bar Association

UC Davis School of Law, J.D. 2011
UC Davis, B.A. with honors, Political Science and Sociology, 2008

Ms. Kerns resides in Danville with her husband Michael and their cats. She enjoys reading, classic art, antiquing, and traveling.