Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Page 1


Superior Court Commissioner Lubell to Retire in March


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Steven K. Lubell will be stepping down after 10 years of service, court officials said yesterday.

His last day on the bench will be Jan.15, and he will be using his accrued vacation until his retirement date of March 4, officials said.

Lubell, who did not return calls for comment, was born in New York but grew up in Beverly Hills. After graduating from Cal State Los Angeles in 1977, he was hired by the Los Angeles Police Department but quit less than a week later to go work as a controller for the father of a friend of his in a leasing business that handled aircraft as well as cars.

Working on repossessions and preparing documents for litigation by day, he attended the University of West Los Angeles School of Law at night and was admitted to the State Bar in 1986.

He set up law a practice with an acquaintance, and began serving in the Glendale and Burbank municipal courts as a judge pro tem.

In 1994, Lubell ran for a seat being vacated by former Rep. James Rogan, R-Calif., on the Glendale Municipal Court, but lost to then-Deputy District Attorney James Simpson in a winner-take-all election.

Five years later Lubell was elected as a commissioner of the Glendale Municipal Court and became a Superior Court commissioner on unification in 2000.

Simpson, who was also elevated to the Superior Court due to unification, later took disability retirement after the Commission on Judicial Performance charged that he tried to intervene with Glendale court commissioners, including Lubell, on behalf of friends who had gotten traffic tickets.

Lubell made a second unsuccessful bid for a judgeship in 2002. Although he secured a “well qualified” rating from the Los Angeles County Bar Association, he finished third in a field of four candidates behind then-Deputy District Attorney David Gelfound and then-State Bar Judge Paul Bacigalupo. Bacigalupo emerged victorious in the runoff and Gelfound was appointed to the bench by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007.

The commissioner most recently made headlines when he presided over the 2007 proceedings in which actress Nicole Richie pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of drugs in a deal with prosecutors that helped her avoid a potential year in jail on her second DUI conviction.

Lubell was recently reassigned from the North Central district courthouse in Burbank to Department M of the North Valley courthouse in San Fernando, but will sit there for only two weeks before he leaves the bench permanently.


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