Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Governor Appoints Judge Dzintra Janavs to Superior Court Vacancy
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has officially named Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs to fill a vacant seat on the court.
Janavs, 70, fills the seat left open when Judge Stephen Suzukawa was elevated to the Court of Appeal. The governor had announced last June, shortly after Janavs was defeated for re-election to the seat she had occupied since 1986, that he would reappoint her “as soon as she completes the paperwork.”
On June 6, Janavs became the first Los Angeles Superior Court judge to be defeated for re-election in 18 years. She received 46 percent of the vote to 54 percent for Lynn D. Olson, a non-practicing attorney who runs a Manhattan Beach eatery with her husband, Hermosa Beach City Councilman Michael Keegan.
Olson is due to be sworn in Jan. 7.
When he announced his intention to reappoint Janavs, the governor said in a statement:
“Judge Janavs has a long and distinguished record as a judge and deserves to continue serving the people of Los Angeles. I can relate to the problem of having a name that is hard to pronounce.”
Janavs, whose appointment came Friday, could not be reached for comment. She will have to run for election to the seat again in 2008.
Numerous judges and lawyers had urged the governor to reappoint her.
Janavs is a native of the Baltic republic of Latvia, which was invaded by Russian troops in 1941 when she was four years old, and then invaded by German troops during World War II. Janavs and her family took refuge in 1944 in a camp for displaced persons in southern Germany, then came to the United States in 1950 under the sponsorship of the Unitarian Church.
She received her law degree from Boalt Hall in 1961 and her undergraduate degree from San Jose State University in 1958. She was admitted to practice in 1962 and became an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, rising through the ranks to become first assistant chief of the Civil Division before then-Gov. George Deukmejian appointed her to the Superior Court.
Then-U.S. Sen. Pete Wilson, R-Calif., in 1990 recommended Janavs for appointment to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, but President George H. W. Bush did not take Wilson’s advice.
Janavs, describing herself as a moderate Republican, commented at the time that she was deemed “too liberal” by the administration.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company