Justice Detjen was nominated to the position of associate justice of the Court of Appeal by Governor Schwarzenegger and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments in 2010. She was appointed to the Madera Superior Court bench by Governor Davis in 2000 and served there as a trial court judge for over nine years. While on the trial court bench, she served for two years as presiding judge and was the presiding judge of its appellate bench when she was elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Prior to her judicial career, she prosecuted criminal cases as a Senior Deputy District Attorney for the Fresno County District Attorney's Office (1985-2000) and as a Deputy District Attorney for the Madera County District Attorney's Office (1982-1985). In 1993, she was certified as a specialist in criminal law and, in 2004, she was recognized for "outstanding service" by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. Her last six years as a litigator were spent prosecuting homicide cases.
She has held memberships in the California Judges Association, the National Association of Women Judges, the Fresno Bar Association, the Rotary Club, and local running and cycling clubs. She formerly sat on a variety of committees connected with the Administrative Office of the Courts, the California Judges Association, and is a past board member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.
She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1977 from the University of Washington and her law degree in 1981 from the University of San Diego. She was born in Lancaster, California where her father, an aeronautical engineer, was a test flight program supervisor at Edwards Air Force Base. Her husband is a native of the Central Valley having been a son and grandson of local farmers. He, and her grown step-children, are all engaged in public service careers.