Thursday, February 23, 2006
Judge Petersen to Forgo Re-Election, Retire From Court in Spring
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen D. Petersen said yesterday he will not run for re-election and will retire from the bench this spring after 18 years in office.
Petersen, 62, said he plans to enroll at a summer program at the Universita della Tuscia in Viterbo, Italy, northeast of Rome. He will be studying the Italian language, as well as art and architecture, the judge told the MetNews.
“Life’s odyssey draws one down many roads,” he commented. “When one has been on the bench for a long time you start thinking about the inconstancy of earthly things and you remember those things you once wanted to do.”
After completing his course in Italy, the judge said, he plans to divide his time between his native Iowa, where he owns a home on Lake Okoboji, near where he grew up, and “some sunny clime.” He is a longtime season ticket holder for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes basketball team—he earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the school—and has periodically returned to Iowa City for games.
Petersen is a native of Spencer, Iowa who was named to the Superior Court by then-Gov. George Deukmejian in 1988. He graduated from law school in 1969 and was admitted to the Iowa bar before joining the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
Following service in Korea, he was assigned to the Presidio of San Francisco. He was admitted to the State Bar in 1972 and left active military service to become an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California the following year.
He spent 15 years in that office, rising to first assistant chief of the Civil Division before being appointed to the bench. He currently sits in Van Nuys and was considered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for a Court of Appeal appointment two years ago.
Leaving in May
He said he is leaving open the option of returning to the court on assignment but that it “is not in my present plans.” He said his last day on the bench will be May 31.
Petersen joins Judge Paula Adele Mabrey in opting to retire this year rather than run for re-election in the June 6 primary.
Others who may not run include Judge Charles Rubin, who said before leaving on vacation that he was almost certain he will not be a candidate; Judge Morris Jones, who said yesterday he had not made up his mind; and Judge Marion Johnson, who is on sick leave and is not expected to run.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company