Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Mackey to Retire
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Mackey said yesterday he would retire Feb. 24.
“It’s just time,” the 18-year jurist told the MetNews, noting that he will turn 66 years of age a week from Thursday.
Mackey said he intends to “go play golf and do a little more traveling.” He developed an affinity for “getting around places” while serving as a military officer 30 years ago, he added.
The judge, who spent the first six years of his career on the old Compton Municipal Court and the past 12 on the Superior Court, has spent most of his career hearing criminal and juvenile court cases. In that time, he developed a reputation as a conservative jurist with a strong belief that young offenders must assume personal responsibility for their actions.
He believes his approach was successful, he commented yesterday, because many of those who have appeared before him have come back to thank him for helping get their lives straightened out.
Mackey, who hears delinquency cases at the Inglewood Juvenile Courthouse, insists he isn’t burnt out by the huge caseloads and pressures of the job. He will probably come back and sit on assignment, he said, “when the financial mess that the courts are in gets straightened out.”
But after working since the age of 15, he said, “it’s time to smell some roses.”
Mackey was born in Dallas, Texas, and grew up in San Pedro. He graduated from UCLA in 1962, then began an 111/2 year military career.
In the Army, he served from second lieutenant to lieutenant colonel, and has been a reserve colonel since 1974. He was in service in Europe, Vietnam, and Korea as a tank commander and paratrooper, winning three Bronze Stars, three Air Medals, and two Army Commendation Medals, with the V for Valor.
But he left the military for law school, working as a deputy probation officer for a time before clerking for the Orange County district attorney. He also found time to serve as managing editor of the UCLA Black Law Journal.
Graduating in 1976, he was a deputy district attorney in Orange County until 1979 and in Los Angeles County from 1980 until then-Gov. George Deukmejian appointed him to the bench in 1984.
While a member of the municipal court in Compton, where he had previously been a felony trial prosecutor, he served as the court’s presiding judge in 1986, as chair of the Presiding Judges Association in 1988 and 1989, and as a member of the Judicial Council from 1987 to 1989.
The judicial experience has been a good one, he said. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” he commented.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company