Friday, February 29, 2008
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael S. Luros to Retire
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael S. Luros will retire sometime next month, a court spokesperson said yesterday.
Luros, who did not return MetNews phone calls, was recently hospitalized with complications from diabetes. Northwest District Supervising Judge Patricia Schnegg recently told a gathering of lawyers that Luros—who did not file a declaration of intention to run for a new term—had hoped to serve until his current term expires next January but would be unable to do so due to his condition.
Luros, 61, is a Brooklyn native and longtime resident of the San Fernando Valley. He spent most of his judicial career in Van Nuys and San Fernando, although he has also sat in the Antelope Valley and in downtown Los Angeles.
27 Years of Service
He is in his 27th year of judicial service, having been named to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in April 1981 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, to whom he had been an unpaid legal advisor. A graduate of UC Santa Barbara—he majored in political science and minored in history—and the University of Chicago School of Law, he practiced civil and criminal law with firms in Hollywood and Beverly Hills from November 1973 through 1975.
He established a practice of his own in Encino in January 1976, which he left in 1978 to become an appellate lawyer with the State Public Defender’s Office, where he worked until his appointment to the municipal court. He was 33 years of age at the time of his appointment, and critics of the governor claimed that Brown named him because Luros’ father—who had been convicted on obscenity charges—-was a substantial campaign contributor.
He ran for the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1984, but failed to make the runoff. The County Bar rated him “not qualified” on that occasion.
‘Police Groupie Syndrome’
While the committee that evaluated judicial candidates did not explain the specifics behind the rating, there was a charge that Luros suffered from “police groupie syndrome,” excessively lecturing misdemeanor defendants, setting high bails, carrying blank search warrants in his car, and often going to police stations in the middle of the night to sign warrants rather than having officers come to his home.
He was reportedly assaulted several times while attempting to detain suspects on the street until police came.
He ran for the Superior Court again in 1996, saying he “became a better judge” by learning the lessons of his earlier campaign. The County Bar rated him “well qualified” and he gained more than 73 percent of the vote against North Hollywood attorney F. Bentley Mooney.
He had both civil and criminal assignments as a judge, and also served by assignment on the Court of Appeal for parts of 1981 and 1989. He won the San Fernando Valley Bar Association Presidents Award in 1992 and the San Fernando Valley Criminal Bar Association Municipal Court Judge of the Year honor in 1989. He has also lectured on criminal and juvenile law.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company