Friday, May 28, 2004
Judge Isacoff, Commissioner Duffey Slate July Retirements
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Judge Susan E. Isacoff and Commissioner Michael M. Duffey of the Los Angeles Superior Court will retire in July, a court spokesman said yesterday.
Isacoff will leave the court after more than 20 years on the bench. She has served on the court’s Appellate Division since October 2002.
Isacoff spent a mere three weeks as assistant presiding judge of the Los Angeles Municipal Court, an office to which she had been elected without opposition, before she became a Superior Court judge by virtue of court unification in 2000. She would, if tradition had been followed and the Municipal Court had remained separate, have become its presiding judge the following year.
Then-Presiding Judge James Bascue of the Superior Court named her to one of about a dozen assistant supervising judge positions he created in the wake of the consolidation.
She was appointed to the Municipal Court by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 1981. In 1987 she presided over a trial centering on allegations a poster in an album by the punk rock artist Jello Biafra and his group the Dead Kennedys was obscene.
Isacoff ruled the poster had to be considered in conjunction with the music and lyrics, and dismissed the charges after the trial ended with a hung jury.
Isacoff majored in history at UCLA and graduated from Loyola Law School in 1970. She was in criminal defense practice with the Los Angeles firm of Andelson & Andelson from 1971 to 1975, then joined the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
As a deputy city attorney, she specialized for a time in domestic violence cases, and was the supervising prosecutor in West Los Angeles, leaving office when Brown appointed her to the bench.
She will retire on July 1, her 60th birthday. Her court clerk said she is currently vacation.
Judge Patti Jo McKay, her colleague on the Appellate Division during Isacoff’s entire tenure there, said Isacoff has been “a joy” to work with.
“She’s a very, very intelligent woman,” McKay said, adding the Isacoff is “a quick study and a hard worker.” She is also “receptive to an opposing opinion,” McKay said, pointing out that that is an important characteristic in the Appellate Division, where judges must try to reach consensus not only on the outcome of cases but on the analysis.
McKay noted she worked with Isacoff when both were on the Municipal Court, but said the Appellate Division assignment gave them their first opportunity to collaborate.
“Here you’re forced to interact with the other judges,” she observed
Duffey will retire July 6. He was appointed a commissioner of the court in 1998 after over 20 years as a deputy public defender.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company