Thursday, June 24, 2004
Superior Court Judge McBeth Seeks Disability Retirement
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Veronica S. McBeth has applied for disability retirement, the MetNews has learned.
McBeth could not be reached for comment, but court sources said she has had back trouble for some time. She had filed for re-election to the court and was unopposed in this year’s elections.
If her retirement request is approved by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, it will bring to an end a judicial career that has lasted more than 22 years. McBeth was named to the Los Angeles Municipal Court by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 1981.
She became a Superior Court judge in 2000 as a result of unification, a process that she worked to bring about as the Municipal Court’s presiding judge in 1998-99.
UCLA Law Graduate
McBeth was born in San Diego and reared in Los Angeles. She graduated from California State University, Los Angeles in 1972 and UCLA law school in 1975. She worked at the City Attorney’s Office, serving as a trial deputy for a year before moving on to a series of administrative positions, including assistant supervising attorney in Van Nuys and head of the Domestic Violence Program.
She was supervising attorney in West Los Angeles when Brown appointed her to the bench.
She chaired the countywide Municipal Court Judges Association in 1988-89 and was long active in court administration, court-community outreach, and bar activities, serving as president of the Black Women Lawyers Association of California and as a vice president of California Women Lawyers. She was the John Langston Bar Association 1991 “Bernard F. Jefferson Judge of the Year.”
As chair of the Municipal Court’s Courts and the Public Committee, she spearheaded the First Impressions Project, designed to give elementary school children a positive impression of the court system through tours and activities.
She chaired the Judicial Council’s Special Task Force on Court/Community Outreach, and received the 1998 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence from the National Center for State Courts. The award was presented to her by the chief justice at a ceremony at the Supreme Court.
McBeth also chaired the National Conference on Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts and received the 1998 Community County Service Award from the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law.
She served as supervising judge of the court’s criminal divisions prior to serving as assistant presiding judge—overseeing the civil side of the court—in 1996 and 1997.
Besides leading the court into a successful merger vote—unification was consistently backed by municipal court judges but their Superior Court colleagues did not approve until the third time the issue was voted on—McBeth’s tenure as presiding judge was marked by the dedication of the Airport Courthouse and with improvements in technology for which the court won a county productivity award.
She also instituted procedures designed to step up the enforcement of orders for repair and improvement of substandard housing.
McBeth gained national publicity after sentencing Beverly Hills neurosurgeon and landlord Milton Avol in 1987 to 30 days’ house arrest in one of his rundown apartment buildings. Avol appealed, claiming the sentence was unauthorized, but the appellate court held that it was within the court’s broad discretion to fashion appropriate conditions of probation.
The case led to the enactment of legislation specifically authorizing similar sentences.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company