Thursday, July 29, 2010
Ricardo A. Torres II Appears at Children’s Hearing
By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer
Los Angeles attorney Ricardo A. Torres II, whose family is well known in legal and political circles, and who apparently abandoned his two minor children along with his law practice and left the country earlier this year, was back in Los Angeles this week.
In a related development, Torres on July 12 tendered his resignation from the State Bar in the face of disciplinary charges.
Court records show that Torres—the son of former Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Ricardo A. Torres, since retired—appeared before Judge Mitchell Beckloff in Dept. 5 Monday morning at a hearing on temporary letters of guardianship for Torres’ son and daughter.
Ricardo Torres II’s whereabouts have been a mystery since January, but some reports have indicated that he left the country and traveled to South America.
Beckloff on June 17 issued the letters to the elder Torres and his wife, Mary Feliciana Torres, naming them as temporary guardians for the minors, ages 10 and 8. The couple petitioned for guardianship in March, asserting that their son “abandoned the minors on Nov. 12, 2009” and that the children had lived with the grandparents since then.
On Monday, Beckloff extended the letters to Aug. 31 after previously extending them July 12 following a meeting with the minor children in chambers. Beckloff in July ordered the children to go to Sacramento for a visit with their paternal grandparents, and required that visitation between Torres’ daughter and her mother remain constant.
According to records obtained by the MetNews, Torres attended Monday’s hearing, as did his father, who is represented by Pasadena attorney Robert D’Angelo. Probate Volunteer Panel attorney Elizabeth Potter Scully of Los Angeles also was present, having been appointed to represent the minors.
Neither Torres, D’Angelo nor Scully could be reached for comment.
Pasadena attorney Vincent Landeros—counsel for Torres’ ex-wife Janell Torres, the children’s mother, who has filed opposition to the guardianship—also could not be reached for comment.
Janell Torres, who lives in Hesperia and was divorced from her former husband in 2002, has previously said the guardianship “is not in the best interests of the minors” and that the children want to live with her. She has also commented that her ex-husband and his family did not tell her that he had abandoned the children, and that she was unaware of his having done so until about a month prior to filing her objection May 11.
The State Bar filed charges against Torres in April, accusing him of failing to return an unearned $15,000 fee that he obtained from a client and falsely telling the client that he had obtained a dismissal when in fact the prosecution chose not to file. He was also accused of failure to cooperate with the State Bar investigation.
The MetNews reported in January that Torres, 45, had disappeared, arranging to have his client files delivered to another lawyer who called the delivery “a total surprise.” Torres had stopped practicing at the mid-Wilshire address listed on the State Bar website, and a recording said the phone had been disconnected.
A candidate for the state Assembly and the Los Angeles City Charter Commission in separate 1997 elections, Torres is also a nephew of Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner William Torres, who said in January that he had not heard from his nephew in over a year. A sister, Kathleen Torres, ran for the Assembly in 1991.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company