United States Magistrate Judge HELENA M. BARCH-KUCHTA (HBK)

Federal Judicial Service:

United States District Court, Eastern District of California

United States Magistrate Judge, appointed November 1, 2020


Duquesne University School of Law, J.D., 1990  
Pennsylvania State University, B.A., 1983

Professional Career:

2018-2020, 2003-2013
United States District Court – Middle District of Florida 
Staff Attorney
United States Department of Justice, Civil Division, London, United Kingdom
K&L Gates, LLP, Washington, D.C. & Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Associate


On November 1, 2020, Helena M. Barch-Kuchta was appointed to be the U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Yosemite Division of the Eastern District of California. Judge Barch-Kuchta sits in the U.S. District Court in Yosemite Valley, though she also hears cases in Fresno. She presides over criminal matters arising on federal lands and civil matters arising in the Fresno Division of the Eastern District of California. She conducts settlement conferences in all types of cases.
Judge Barch-Kuchta has practiced litigation in the private, public and international sectors. She began her legal career as a litigator with the commercial litigation and insurance coverage group of K&L Gates, LLP in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and continued in their Washington, D.C. office. She then joined the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida as a staff attorney and assisted the court with handling civil cases that included prisoner rights cases, habeas corpus cases, and death penalty habeas petitions. After a decade of public service, she joined the U.S. Department of Justice as a trial attorney working in its Civil Division, Office of Foreign Litigation, European Office located in the United Kingdom where she represented the United States in affirmative and defensive litigation matters throughout Europe and Turkey. Judge Barch-Kuchta then returned to the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida to again serve as a staff attorney before her appointment to the bench.
Judge Barch-Kuchta received her B.A., with honors, from Pennsylvania State University, University Park, and her J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh, where she was a recipient of the Honorable Gerald K. Gibson Award. She also earned an Executive Certificate in International Human Rights Law & Practice from the London School of Economics and Political Science during her time in the United Kingdom.