Thursday, April 30, 2009
Superior Court Judge Fredricks Reveals Retirement Plans
By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Josh M. Fredricks said yesterday that he expects to retire in September after 23 years on the bench.
Fredricks told the MetNews that he has not officially submitted his retirement paperwork to the court, but said that he plans to step down from his position at the Compton Courthouse on Sept. 12, his 60th birthday, allowing him to avoid deferred retirement.
Superior court judges accrue full retirement benefits upon completing 20 years of service, but must defer compensation until reaching the age of 60 if they retire before that point.
Fredricks said he was “not 100 percent sure” of his future plans, but indicated he will be spending time at a farm he owns in Oregon, and visiting his children and grandchild.
Commenting that his time on the bench had been a “good run,” he remarked that he is considering joining the Superior Court’s retired judges program, becoming a private judge for an alternative dispute resolution provider or reentering private practice. However, he said, he has made no decision yet.
A graduate of Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, Fredricks joined the city’s police force in 1972 after graduating from USC with a degree in English. Working first as a patrolman, and later as an administrative assistant, he attended law school at Loyola Law School and earned admission to the State Bar in 1977.
The judge began his legal career as a sole practitioner in Redondo Beach, concentrating on criminal defense. He moved his practice to Hermosa Beach in 1985, but was appointed to the South Bay Municipal Court the following year by then-Gov. George Deukmejian.
Fredricks served as presiding judge of the municipal court in 1987, and then again from 1995 to 1999. He was elevated to the Superior Court by court unification in 2000.
The judge sat for reelection in 2008, but was deemed reelected when no challengers surfaced.
Fredricks was active in Republican politics during high school and college, and worked on Ronald Reagan’s 1966 California gubernatorial campaign and Deukmejian’s 1970 gubernatorial campaign. He also served as an alternate member of California’s delegation to the 1972 Republican National Convention.
The judge is both a second-generation judge, and the second of three generations of attorneys in his family. His father was former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas W. Fredricks, who passed away in 1984, while his daughter, Lauren Friedman, works at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in Irvine, and son Timothy W. Fredricks practices privately in Manhattan Beach.
Fredricks’s mother, Gloria Fredricks, passed away April 17 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
The judge says that he enjoys farming in his free time, and always wanted to become a farmer. He previously owned a 122-acre farm near Woodland, Mich., in the southwest part of the state’s Lower Peninsula, which he said he decided to purchase while in the area to attend a football game between USC and Notre Dame.
Recounting a southbound drive from the Straits of Mackinac separating Michigan’s two peninsulas, the judge said he was passing through fields of yellow corn and other produce on his way to visit a former professor when he realized, “this is what I’ve been thinking about.”
He later sold the farm in Michigan before his children attended college, but decided to purchase another one after the pair had graduated. Fredricks initially investigated purchasing another farm in Michigan, he said, but opted to buy one in Oregon instead, crediting both the state’s proximity to California and its milder winters.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company