Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, October 15, 2004


Page 1


Judge Thomas Stoever Slates Feb. 15 Retirement

Jurist Has Supervised Superior Court Probate Department for Nearly Four Years


By DAVID WATSON, Staff Writer


Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas W. Stoever will retire Feb. 14, he said yesterday.

Stoever will by then have supervised the court’s Probate Department for just over four years. He was assigned that task in 2001 by then-Presiding Judge James Bascue.

Stoever, who will turn 69 on Jan. 29, said he does not plan to do private judging.

“I plan to spend a great deal of time nuturing my inner child,” the judge said, explaining that he will travel with his wife and serve as a docent conducting tours of the downtown Walt Disney Concert Hall. Stoever and his wife have been active supporters of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for some 40 years, and conducting the tours will be “just a natural extension of that,” he said.

Stoever added he also plans to volunteer at Descanso Gardens in La Canada, to “learn to fly fish, play more golf, and sleep in in the morning.”

If the rigors of not working become more than he can handle, Stoever said, he might eventually return to the court to work on assignment.

‘Wonderful Assignment’

Stoever, who acknowledged he had “very little experience in probate” before being named to supervise the department, called it a “wonderful assignment.”

He commented:

“I’ll miss it. It’s a wonderful bar—the probate bar is just a wonderful group of people and we have just a fantastic staff here in the court.”

Stoever added:

“This has been a terrific ride.”

Stoever, a Los Angeles native who earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA and his law degree at Hastings College of the Law, spent two years as a Los Angeles deputy county counsel before going into private practice. He practiced eminent domain and land use law for 30 years and was a partner with Oliver, Stoever, Barr and Vose at the time he was appointed to the Superior Court in 1992 by then-Gov. Pete Wilson.

Stoever noted that he was “one of the original attorneys for the Los Angeles Redevelopment Agency on the Bunker Hill project.”

He put in his application with Wilson because he felt he needed a change in career directions, but had “no political connections,” Stoever said. He recalled that he was assigned to the Lancaster court during his first 14 months, probably because he lived in La Canada.

“I was the closest judge to the valley,” he explained, adding that the commute was difficult, “but it was good work.”

“It was a very enjoyable experience,” he said.

He then spent seven years in Pasadena, three of them as supervising judge of the court there, before coming downtown to accept the probate assignment.

Shumsky Sets Date

Court officials also reported yesterday that Judge Rosemary Shumsky will retire Dec. 6.

Shumsky did not seek re-election this year, and will be succeeded Jan. 3 by either Deputy District Attorney David Lopez or Superior Court Referee D. Zeke Zeidler. Lopez and Zeidler were the top vote-getters March 2 in a six-way primary battle that also included Deputy Attorney General Bob Henry, Deputy District Attorneys Craig Mitchell and Craig Renetzky, and attorney Michael D. Shook.

Shumsky, 65, was elected to the old Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1980, after having spent three years as a part-time juvenile court referee. She defeated then-Commissioner John Gunn, who later became a judge and is now retired, in a runoff after surviving an eight-candidate primary.

She ran unsuccessfully for the Superior Court in 1984, then became a Superior Court judge through unification in 2000. She sits in West Los Angeles.

A graduate of Indiana University and Southwestern School of Law, she spent 10 years as a technologist in the field of hematology, becoming supervisor of the Hemotopathology Laboratory at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where she later became an instructor.

She began practicing law in 1972. She was a deputy public defender for four years before entering private practice.


Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company