Wendy Patrick Wendy Patrick

In the Courtroom

As San Diego’s Deputy District Attorney, Wendy Patrick uses her Bethel Seminary degree.

BEGIN . BELONG . BECOME

A juror in one of Wendy Patrick’s recent cases asked to be excused. The details of the crime were too gruesome; she was going to be sick.

This occurrence is not uncommon in Wendy’s courtroom, where not even her family and closest friends will come to watch her.

For 15 years, the 42-year-old deputy district attorney for San Diego has been assigned to the Sex Crimes and Stalking Division, where she prosecutes cases involving vice, human trafficking, child molestation, and sexually violent predators—“the worst of the worst.” She has completed approximately 150 trials, including close to 100 jury trials ranging from hate crimes, to domestic violence, to first-degree murder.

She never enters the courtroom without God though. “My prayer each morning is: God, show me needs that I can fill. Am I always successful? No. I get sidetracked. But I pray unceasingly and keep asking for humility,” Wendy says. “God loves to show up in places where He knows I can’t do it alone.”

Those places include the disturbing crime scenes of her cases. She believes her ability to try such cases is a gift from God. “I am able to work with victims and not suffer from a loss of objectivity,” she explains. “That’s not to say I don’t feel terrible about the things that happened to these victims. But I can do this. It’s a ministry.” 

Last year she received her Master of Divinity degree from Bethel Seminary San Diego. Often asked to reconcile God’s law with human law, she believes the Lord forgives the sin, but sin’s consequences still have to be paid. She, therefore, helps enforce those consequences, and her time at Bethel Seminary equipped her to do this better as a Christian.

“My three years at Bethel were three of my best years,” says Wendy. “I got a renewed sense of purpose in my life. There is something I’m called to do besides be a lawyer.”

That call is Christian outreach to unbelievers both in and out of the courtroom. She is on the teaching team at her church, Legacy Church, planted in 2007 by Bethel Seminary Professor Curt Gruber.

Outside of the courtroom, Wendy holds a purple belt in Shorin-Ryu karate, is a concert violinist with the La Jolla Symphony, and plays the electric violin professionally with a rock band. She co-authored the revised version of the New York Times’ bestseller Reading People and has been a contributing author for numerous books. She speaks internationally on the topics of ethics and interpersonal communications, and is a Ph.D. candidate in theology through the University of Wales.

“Occasionally, someone will tell me ‘oh, you shouldn’t do that, it’ll be too hard!’” she says. “But God has given me the energy and the health right now. So, I need to give Him my best years in whatever way I can.”