Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Superior Court Judge Kathryne A. Stoltz to Retire
By a MetNews Staff Writer
After 23 years, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathryne A. Stoltz will be leaving the bench on Dec. 19 the judge confirmed yesterday, but said her last official day will be in late February because she will be using her accrued vacation time.
Stoltz, 60, has spent the past 20 years presiding over felony jury trials in Department F at the Van Nuys Courtroom, and said she wants “to ratchet things down a little bit,” but plans to return to the bench on assignment.
“I just want to relax, have more fun, less stress in my life, you know, stop and smell the roses… while I’m still young and healthy,” Stolz said.
The jurist said that she and her husband are “big fans of cruising,” that they recently returned from a 12-day cruise to the Mediterranean, which “kind of reinforced my decision to retire,” because she said she wants to be able to go on vacation without having to plan months in advance.
Also, Stoltz said she became a grandmother in April and wants to be able to spend time visiting her granddaughter in Denver, Colo.
Looking back on her career, she reflected “I had some difficult cases where I made some tough decisions.” In particular, she recalled convicted murderer Robert Rosenkrantz’s challenge to the parole board’s decision to deny him parole.
She ruled there was no evidence to support the Board of Prison Terms’ finding—the board is now called the Board of Parole Hearings—that Rosenkrantz’s release would endanger the public, which was “very controversial” she recalled. After issuing her ruling, Stoltz said people told her it was a “‘gusty’” decision to make, and said “I’m really proud of that.”
During her time on the bench, Stoltz noted “the case load has gotten much more serious,” with more gang cases, robberies, sex offenses and murders, and “the case load has gotten significantly heavier out here in the valley.”
Then-Gov. George Deukmejian appointed Stoltz to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1985, and the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1987. Stoltz earned both her undergraduate degree in sociology and her law degree from UCLA and served 11 years as an assistant U.S. attorney before being tapped for the bench.
Throughout her career Stoltz has been involved in teaching, having conducted various courses for the judge’s college, and established a “Dessert and Dialogue” program at the Van Nuys courthouse which provides educational presentations for the judges and snacks once a month.
Although Stoltz said she enjoys teaching and considered taking a position as a law school teacher, she said she did not want to “be tied down by the school’s year” because the “best time to travel is when school is in session.”
She said she did not have any concrete plans for how she will spend her time, but insisted she wanted to keep herself busy. “Who knows, maybe I’ll join a gym or improve my Spanish,” she said.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company