Friday, April 8, 2005
Retired Superior Court Judge Bonnie Martin Dies at 74
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bonnie Lee Martin died yesterday at her home in Los Angeles at age 74.
Martin had been fighting pancreatic cancer, her daughter Erica Martin said.
Martin retired from the Superior Court bench in 1990, and for the last 14 years had been a partner at JAMS in Los Angeles, handling arbitrations and mediations.
Born in Utah, Martin graduated from the University of Utah, where she majored in philosophy and pre-med studies. After being told by a college counselor that women could not be lawyers, her daughter said, Martin applied to law school, and was one of only two women in her class at UCLA.
She obtained am advanced degree at USC and joined the California Attorney General’s Office, where she met her husband, attorney Arthur Martin.
After six years with the state and four in private practice, she was named a Los Angeles Municipal Court commissioner in 1966 and appointed a judge of that court by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1968. Then-Gov. Jerry Brown elevated her to the Superior Court in 1975.
She received the Justice Traynor Award for Judicial Excellence from the Trial Lawyers Association in 1989, and was named Outstanding Trial Judge of the Year by the Los Angeles County Bar Association in 1986. She was president of the Women Lawyers’ Club, chairman of the Committee on California Jury Instructions (BAJI), and a member of the Judicial Council.
She wrote a book on California search and seizure law, and taught her fellow judges at the Judicial College in Berkeley. In the course of her career, Martin presided over numerous high profile cases, including death penalty trials and major civil actions.
She once stated that the key to her success was “a belief that the difficult is possible,” her daughter said. Besides her husband and daughter, both attorneys, she is survived by a grandson, two brothers, and a sister.
A remembrance will be held Monday at 5:00 p.m. at Les Freres Taix, 1911 Sunset Boulevard. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Norris Cancer Center at USC, the family said.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company