Thursday, June 22, 2006
No Services Planned for Manson Trial Judge Older
By a MetNews Staff Writer
No services are planned for retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles H. Older, who died Saturday night from complications from a fall in his West Los Angeles home, Older’s former law partner, Edward Cazier, said yesterday.
Older was 88.
Cazier called Older “a wonderful man and a fine judge.”
Older, who was appointed to the bench by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1967, presided over the 1971 trial of Charles Manson, who was convicted of the murders of actress Sharon Tate and others. The trial was chronicled in the book “Helter Skelter,” by Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor in the case.
After the Manson trial, Older jailed reporter Bill Farr for 46 days for contempt after Farr refused to reveal his sources for a story about the trial. Farr wrote the story while working at the Herald Examiner, but was temporarily not employed as a journalist when Older had him arrested.
Then-U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas ordered Farr’s release.
Farr’s jailing led to the passage of a 1980 ballot measure which incorporated California’s reporters’ shield law into the state Constitution, protecting reporters’ rights to protect their sources.
Farr’s arrest also prompted two attorneys to run against Older when he came up for re-election. Older won.
Older also once had an attorney, then-Deputy Public Defender Richard Buckley, jailed for contempt for refusing to turn over a privileged investigation report.
In a 1982 profile of Older, the MetNews noted two sides to the judge’s personality. “Some know him as a stern, no-nonsense judge. To others, he’s an affable socialite,” the article said.
Another of his former partners, Horace Hahn, said of Older at the time, “He makes a real distinction between social life and work life. He’s very quiet in a work environment, very open in a social environment.”
Hahn said Older “can maintain his composure up to a point, but pushed beyond that point, he can very difficult.”
Older graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1935, UCLA in 1939, and from USC Law School in 1952.
In between attending undergraduate and law schools, he served as a pilot for the Flying Tigers, an outfit hired by the Chinese nationalist government to chase out invading Japanese pilots, and as a fighter pilot for the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II, and for the U.S. Air Force in the Korean War.
Older worked for the Los Angeles firm Keatinge, Arnold & Zack from 1952 to 1954, and was a partner in Keatinge & Older from 1954 to 1962, and in the firm Older, Hahn, Cazier & Hoegh from 1962 to 1968.
Older retired from the bench in 1987.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company