Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Page 3


Presiding Justice Norman Epstein Engaged to Be Married


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Norman Epstein of this district’s Div. Four is engaged to be married to retired Butte Superior Court Judge Ann Rutherford, it was announced Friday.

No date has been set for the wedding.

The engagement became public when MetNews Editor/Co-Publisher Roger M. Grace told attendees at this newspaper’s 22nd annual “Person of the Year” Dinner that he had “some very delightful news,” relating the betrothal. Warm applause greeted the announcement, made with the permission of Epstein, who was present.

Grace described the jurist as a “man who is very dear within the legal community, and revered as certainly one of the most outstanding appellate justices in the history of this state.”

Epstein was the 1994 “person of the year,” and has received innumerable awards from state and national organizations including the California Judges Assn. and the State Bar of California.

He has been a merit appointee of various governors. Epstein, then a Democrat (now registered as “decline to state”), was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1975 by Republican Gov. Ronald Reagan, was elected by colleagues as assistant presiding judge, and would, in normal course, have become presiding judge in 1981 had Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown not elevated him in 1980 to the Superior Court.

Republican Gov. George Deukmejian in 1990 placed him on the Court of Appeal, as an associate justice. It is known within legal circles that he was offered a spot on the California Supreme Court, headquartered in San Francisco, by Democratic Gov. Gray Davis but declined it, not wishing to uproot his ailing wife, Ann, whom he married in 1956, and who is since deceased.

Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Epstein as presiding justice in 2004.

Rutherford is well known within the state’s judiciary in light of her extensive activities in the California Judges Assn. and as a member of the faculty of the California Judges College in Berkeley.

She, like Epstein, has glided above partisan politics. She was elected to the Butte Superior Court in 1988, after serving on the Butte Municipal Court, to which she was appointed, though a Republican, by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in 1976.

Epstein has a son and a daughter, the son, Mark H. Epstein, being a Los Angeles attorney with Munger Tolles & Olson. Rutherford, whose first marriage ended in a divorce in 1979, has no children.


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