Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Yaffe to Retire Nov. 1
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Yaffe said yesterday he will retire Nov. 1.
The longtime Writs and Receivers judge, who said his last day on the bench will be Oct. 8, said it was “time to go” after more than 50 years as a lawyer and judge.
Yaffe remarked: “It’s been a full and satifying career...I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.”
He said he has no current post-retirement plans but may return to the bench on assignment in the future.
The judge has been involved in a number of controversial cases over the years, most recently that of Richard I. Fine. Yaffe sent the now-disbarred attorney to jail for refusing to answer questions as part of a judgment debtor exam in the case of Marina Strand Colony II Homeowners Assn vs. County of Los Angeles, BS109420.
The judgment involved is for more than $46,000 in sanctions that the judge imposed after Fine moved to avoid dismissal of the case and filed an affidavit acknowledging that he was at fault in failing to make a required filing.
Fine has continually argued that Yaffe should have disqualified himself at the outset of the case because he, like apparently every other Los Angeles Superior Court judge, has received benefits from the county over and above his state salary.
Yaffe said the argument was waived because Fine was aware of the payments at least 10 months before he raised the issue.
The judge said yesterday that he was unaware of a website maintained by Fine supporters that attempted to link his impending retirement to the case, which Yaffe said had nothing to do with the timing of his departure.
The judge, who is 76, is an Illinois native who attended public schools in Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA in 1955 and from its law school in 1958. He practiced with the law firm of Monteleone & McCrory from 1959 until his appointment to the court by then-Gov. George Deukmejian in 1987.
In addition to his service on the bench, he served as a trustee of the Los Angeles County Law Library.
Before his assignment to the writs department, he sat in criminal court where, in 1996, he criticized then-District Attorney Gil Garcetti from the bench over his handling of third-strike cases—prior to the California Supreme Court ruling granting judges discretion to dismiss “strike” allegations in the interests of justice.
Yaffe’s widely reported comments raised eyebrows because Garcetti was being challenged for re-election at the time. Garcetti, after meeting with Yaffe, said the judge was not aware that the defendant whose case he was commenting on—and who had just been acquitted of possessing a small amount of cocaine—had a number of convictions besides the two alleged as “strikes.”
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