Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Retired Municipal Court Judge Juaneita Veron Dies at 85
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Retired Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Juaneita Veron, a pioneering woman lawyer who spent more than 20 years on the local bench, has died at age 85.
Veron died Saturday at a Santa Monica nursing home, Superior Court Judge Diane Wheatley told the MetNews yesterday. A longtime South Bay resident, Veron moved to the nursing home afte suffering a stroke several months ago.
Veron handled the law and motion calendar for all of the downtown municipal court cases for several years prior to her retirement in 1993. Wheatley recalled that in 1987, early in her tenure as a commissioner, she was sent to Veron’s court for training on how to handle motions, and filled in for the judge when she was on vacation.
“She taught me so much,” Wheatley said. The two had been out of touch for a time before Wheatley learned that Veron was living in Santa Monica, the judge explained yesterday, and began visiting.
Veron was raised by an aunt after her mother died when the future judge was a year old. The two moved from Fresno to southeast Los Angeles after Veron graduated high school, and she and her aunt both worked so that she could attend USC, she recalled when interviewed by an alumni publication in 2005.
“I’d always wanted to be a lawyer ever since I was a little kid,” she told the interviewer. “At the time, financing was a real problem and the chances of getting into college weren’t so great. But I did. And my adopted mother worked and I worked. I made 40 cents an hour working at Bullocks [department store].”
She obtained her undergraduate degree in 1943 and went on to USC Law School, where she was one of five women in her 1950 graduating class of 300. She became a trial and appellate lawyer in Los Angeles and Orange counties before then-Gov. Ronald Reagan appointed her to the bench in 1970.
Among her clients were a white couple who, according to a 1959 Jet magazine article, were thwarted in their efforts to adopt an African-American child by a judge who decreed it unacceptable for the infant to be raised in a Caucasian neighborhood.
She was married to Joseph F. “Fred” Foster, an engineer with the oil company Aramco, who died in 2006.
When asked for the USC publication what advice she would give to aspiring law students, Veron advised:
“You have to want it really bad. I don’t know how hard it is now, but it wasn’t easy then. Now they have computers. Then, we were lucky to have a ladies’ bathroom. Work awfully hard. Stick to it. Just keep fighting on.”
No funeral services are planned, Wheatley said.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company