Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Commissioner Mark Weiss Slates February Retirement
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Mark A. Weiss said yesterday he will retire from the bench in February.
Weiss, 63, said his last day on the bench will be Dec. 23 and his official retirement date Feb. 22. His plans after that, he said, include private judging.
While the “overwhelming majority” of his experiences as a commissioner have been favorable, the jurist said, he is looking forward to new opportunities. He said he cannot be specific about his private judging plans right now, but added they are likely to combine family law, which has consumed most of his time as a commissioner, with technology-related matters.
Weiss majored in electrical engineering at UC Berkeley, from which he graduated in 1964 before going on to law school at UCLA, and continued working in that field for a while after getting his law degree. He has a longstanding interest in computers.
“My first computer was a Bendix G-15,” he explained, a “first generation” machine introduced in the 1950s. “It was larger than a refrigerator and had less power than some of the handhelds you see today.”
Weiss said he and his wife will also spend more time traveling — he has family members living in different parts of the country — and that he looks forward to becoming more engrossed in amateur radio. He has had a ham operator’s license since he was 12 years old, he explained.
He will, he told the MetNews, miss the camaraderie of the bench as well as the daily interaction with the lawyers. He has always striven for good relations with the attorneys appearing before him, he said, observing that the vast majority of them seemed to understand that his rulings were based on his views of the cases and not on any personal animosity.
Family law, he acknowledged, has had its difficult moments. “The personalities of the litigants are sometimes channeled through the attorneys,” who see themselves as “zealous gladiators” and lose sight of their professional obligations, particularly in open court, Weiss said.
When possible, he said, he prefers to have the lawyers meet with him in chambers and “chill out a little bit.”
Weiss has been a commissioner since 1986 and was an as-needed referee before that. He started out in Eastlake Juvenile Court, later went to the North Central District for six months, and has spent the bulk of his career in San Fernando and in Van Nuys, where he now sits.
His first job as an attorney was as a deputy public defender, from 1969 to 1972. He then practiced in Encino from 1972 until his appointment as commissioner.
He has also served on the faculties of the Continuing Judicial Studies Program, the California Center for Judicial Education and Research, and Continuing Education of the Bar.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company