Thursday, March 24, 2005
Edward Kakita, Retired Judge of Superior Court, Dies at Age 64
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Edward Kakita died yesterday at age 64.
Kakita was appointed to the bench by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 1980. He retired in May of 2000.
The judge served as a member of the courtís Executive Committee in 1983 and 1997. He was the founding president of the Japanese American Bar Association of Greater Los Angeles in 1977.
He was also the first chairman of the Minority Bar Association.
When appointed to the bench he was a partner with Whitman & Ransom, later Whitman, Breed, Abbott & Morgan. From 1966 to 1980 he represented Japanese businesses in private law practice.
He earned his law degree at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and in 1989 and 1990 was the president of the Hastings College of the Law Alumni Association.
He earned his undergraduate degree in finance at USC and after graduating from law school spent a year studying at Sophia University in Tokyo under a fellowship sponsored by the Japanese-American Citizens League and Japan Air Lines.
In an interview with a local legal daily newspaper in 1983, Kakita described himself as a lifelong Republican, and credited his involvement with minority bar groups for bringing him to Brownís attention as a potential judicial candidate.
When first appointed to bench Kakita was assigned to handle civil trials and law and motion matters. He was subsequently assigned to hear criminal cases, despite a lack of experience in that area during his years in practice, but later became part of the Trial Court Delay Reduction Program during its first years as a pilot program.
In 1997 he was assigned to the Superior Courtís Appellate Division and he served as the Appellate Division presiding judge in 1998.
Like many other Americans of Japanese ancestry, Kakita and his parents spent much of World War II in an internment camp.
The judge died at about noon yesterday. No information about the cause of death or plans for services was available late yesterday.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company