Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Page 3


Services Set for Retired First District Justice Herbert W. Walker


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Memorial services for retired First District Court of Appeal Justice Herbert W. Walker have been set for Dec. 4 in Central California.

Walker died at his home in Napa on Oct. 28, court officials said. He was 76.

A 16-year veteran jurist, Walker retired from the bench in 2001 and became a private judge. He was the son of the late Herbert V. Walker, who, as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, presided over the trial of Sirhan B. Sirhan for the murder of Robert F. Kennedy.

Herbert Weston Walker, who was nicknamed Wes, began his judicial career in 1985, with an appointment by then-Gov. George Deukmejian to the Napa Superior Court, where he served as presiding judge from 1987 until 1988 and again from 1990 until 1991.

Walker also served as presiding criminal and juvenile court judge from 1988 until 1989, and presiding judge of the appellate department from 1986 until 1987 and 1990 until 1993.

In addition he authored the Napa County Rules for Administration of Civil Litigation on delay reduction. These rules helped the court achieve a disposition rate of more than 90 percent of all civil cases within one year of filing, court officials claimed.

In 1996, Walker was elevated to Div. Three of the First District Court of Appeal by then-Gov. Pete Wilson, and he served on that court until his retirement.

While in private practice before becoming a judge, Walker specialized in business, real property and construction law. He was senior partner at Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty in Napa from 1980 until 1985 and a sole practitioner in Newport Beach for the two years before that.

Walker worked his way up from associate to senior and managing partner at Rutan & Tucker 1960 to 1978 while also serving part-time as city prosecutor in Cypress and La Palma from 1959 until 1965.

A 1958 graduate of USC law school, Walker was admitted to the State Bar in January 1959 and began his legal career by spending a year as a deputy county counsel in Los Angeles.

The jurist was also a trial court seminar leader for the California Judicial College and chaired the Judicial Council’s Advisory Committee on Court Records and Management.

His other professional affiliations included the American Board of Trial Advocates, the California Judges Association, the Cow County Judges Association, and the Napa County Bar Association.

Walker was also an accomplished vintner and photographer, court officials said. His photographs of landscapes and vineyards were published in several books and calendars, and he published three books: “Hidden Napa Valley” in 2004, “Hidden Sonoma” in 2006, and “Tuscan Country” in 2007.

He is survived by his wife, Marsha Johnston, six children, 14 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be sent to the Melanoma Research Foundation, 170 Township Line Road, Building B, Hillsborough, N.J. 08844.

The 3 p.m. memorial service on Dec. 4 is scheduled to take place at the Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakdale.


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