Monday, December 19, 2005
Superior Court Judges Kolostian, Knight Slate Retirements
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Richard Kolostian and Michael Knight have slated February retirements.
Friday was the last scheduled day on the bench for Kolostian, 74, a longtime fixture in the Van Nuys courthouse. But the judge, whose official retirement date is Feb. 21, said he expects to be back in January to hear a few matters and may return on assignment in the spring to try a complex conservatorship matter before moving on to private judging.
A judge and commissioner for 32 years, Kolostian said he hopes to eventually return to the court and hear cases regularly on assignment.
“If I could do this [three or four days] a week, I would never leave,” he told the MetNews, saying he has been planning for years to take up golf but never found the time to do it.
He has relished the opportunity for judicial service, he said, because judges are “doing what’s important for society.”
The jurist, who lives in Calabasas, commented that judges “don’t become rich, but you have nice life.” The San Fernando Valley is a particularly good place to work, he said, because of the quality and friendliness of the local lawyers, noting that they surprised him with a cake not long ago to honor his 40 years at the bench and bar.
Kolostian is a Los Angeles native and a 1954 graduate of what is now Loyola Marymount University. After military service, he joined General Telephone Company as a personnel manager, working there from 1958 to 1964, and graduating from Loyola Law School in the interim.
He began his litigation career in the City Attorney’s Office, then had his own practice, handling criminal trials and criminal and civil appeals, from 1968 to 1973, when he was appointed a Los Angeles Municipal Court commissioner.
He served in the post until 1980, when then-Gov. Jerry Brown named him a Superior Court judge. He has heard a wide swath of cases, including criminal—the San Fernando Valley Criminal Bar Association named him its “Trial Judge of the Year” in 1988—civil, family law, and probate, and was the Northwest District supervising judge in 1989 and 1990.
Knight, 67, will leave the bench at the end of the year and officially retire Feb. 20. He sits in Chatsworth.
His 15 years of judicial service have been “good and bad...but for the main part it has been good,” he said. While heavy caseloads have made the job “more difficult in recent years,” he told the MetNews, “it has been my honor and privilege to be able to serve the people.”
Knight, whose judicial career has been about equally divided between criminal and civil law, said he had no specific retirement plans but may return on assignment.
The Indiana native, whose outside interests include singing, snow and water skiing, fishing, and boating, was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court by then-Gov. George Deukmejian in 1990 and was elevated to the Superior Court in 2000 as a result of unification.
A 1969 graduate of what was then the San Fernando Valley College of Law, Knight worked for the Culver City Police Department from 1962 to 1970 and was a deputy district attorney for 20 years before the governor tapped him for the bench.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company