Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Commissioner Richard Curtis to Retire After 25 Years
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Richard A. Curtis said yesterday he will retire next month, costing the court one of its most experienced family law bench officers.
The last workday for Curtis, who has done matrimonial work for 22 of his 25 years on the bench, will be Feb. 14. He will then take accrued leave until his official retirement date, which has not yet been calculated, he told the MetNews.
“It’s been a long and fulfilling career,” he said, “but it’s time to do other things.” He intends to do some work around the house, take a six-week trip to Europe, and “then get into private judging,” he said.
He has not yet arranged a position with an ADR provider, he explained, because he is “too busy dong my real judging to worry about it.”
Curtis, 62, has become “geographically ept”, as he put it, as judicial assignments have taken him far from his home near the Orange County line. He started as a roving juvenile court officer before taking up a permanent assignment in Sylmar, went to family law in San Fernando when the courthouse there opened in 1983, and later moved on to courtrooms in San Fernando, Norwalk, Pomona, Burbank, and downtown Los Angeles, where he has spent the last several years.
He even filled in for awhile in Lancaster. “That was a real commute,” he recalled yesterday.
His expertise in family law has resulted in his being called upon to review legislation, testify in Sacramento, and write for various publications. He said he hopes to “help out my fellow bench officers and hopefully the bar” after he retires.
He was born in Salt Lake City, grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, and graduated from Stanford University in 1966. At Stanford, he majored in history and played soccer.
He graduated from UCLA School of Law in 1969 and clerked in the appellate section of the Los Angeles Public Defender’s office until he was admitted to the bar and hired as a deputy public defender. He specialized in appeals and moved to the State Public Defender’s Office in 1976, started a private practice in Cerritos in 1981, and was named commissioner the following year.
The timing of his retirement, he said, is largely being dictated by the retirement system for county employees. The difference between his salary and his retirement amount is so small, he said, that he is “essentially working for free.”
A court spokesperson said Commissioner Michael Convey will be moving from Van Nuys to take over Curtis’ calendar in Dept. 27, effective Feb. 19. Recently appointed Commissioner B. Scott Silverman will move from Metropolitan Court to take over Convey’s courtroom.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company