Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Judge Michael Latin Sets September Retirement Date
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Latin told the MetNews yesterday that he has slated his retirement for Sept. 5.
His last day on the bench, he said, is scheduled for the Friday prior, although he has plans to use his vacation time on a few dates between then and now.
Latin, 51, declined to say why he his leaving the bench at such a young age, or what his plans after his retirement are, citing the canons of judicial ethics.
Looking back on his brief eight-year bench career, he said he was most proud of his work as site judge of the Van Nuys civil courthouse.
“I really tried to make this a very user-friendly courthouse, and I really tried to improve the way the courthouse serves the public and attorneys in the community,” Latin said. “I like to think we made a lot of progress,” he added.
Latin is also a member of the Superior Court Executive Committee, and reflected that he “really enjoyed that experience.”
One of the biggest honors he received as a judge, Latin said, was being nominated by the Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles as Trial Judge of the Year just six months after receiving his first civil assignment.
“I really appreciated the recognition,” Latin recalled, “and it was quite a surprise, given how little time I had been on the bench in the civil courthouse.”
Working with Presiding Judge Lee Edmon was another highlight of his career, Latin said. “She’s just fabulous,” he said of Edmon.
“It’s been a special time to be in leadership in the court, with the first female, and I think, one of the best presiding judges we’ve ever had,” Latin opined.
His time on the bench “has been such a pleasure,” Latin enthused. “I really enjoy the lawyers that I have in my courtroom and I really enjoy the arguments that people have made in front of me.”
“It’s been wonderful, and I’m grateful for everything that I’ve had” Latin said.
Latin was appointed to the bench in 2003, in the final days of Gov. Gray Davis’ administration.
At the time, he was a deputy district attorney working in the Major Crimes Division. He joined the office in 1987, and prosecuted Kathleen Soliah, also known as Sara Jane Olson, for her involvement with the Symbionese Liberation Army attempt to murder three Los Angeles police officers in 1975.
The case took over two years to prepare and resulted in Soliah being convicted and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. Four other former SLA members were also convicted in Los Angeles and Sacramento.
Latin has been honored as California Lawyer of the Year by California Lawyer Magazine, Prosecutor of the Year by the Century City Bar Association, and Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He also received the Pursuit of Justice Award from the Los Angeles County Association of Deputy District Attorneys.
He earned his undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara and his law degree from Loyola Law School.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company