Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, March 5, 2012


Page 1


Superior Court Referee Sobel Begins Disciplinary Suspension


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Sherri Sobel began a 30-day suspension Friday, the METNEWS has learned.

The suspension was imposed by Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon based on complaints that Sobel, who sits in a dependency court, called a lawyer a “bitch” in open court, flipped off a mother in open court, and employed the same gesture in front of counsel in chambers while on a conference call with a lawyer.

The METNEWS reported Feb. 23 that Sobel was contesting the discipline. Sobel said at that time, in an e-mail:

“I absolutely deny calling anyone a bitch in my court, or giving ‘the finger.’ In 30 years bench and bar, there has never been a complaint until now. Regarding being obscene with a parent, I need to say strongly that you cannot do this job for 30 years if you disrespect the humanity of the families, regardless of the rulings you must make for the safety of the children.”

In 2007, the Juvenile Court Judges of California, an adjunct of the California Judges Assn., named Sobel Juvenile Court Judge of the Year.

Sobel was admitted to practice in 1983. As a private practitioner, she handled juvenile delinquency and dependency cases.

At the age the age of 37, Sobel, then an English teacher, enrolled in law school at Western State University in San Diego. She told the MetNews in a 2007 interview:

“I went back to law school for the express purpose of working with kids, and I was lucky—every single step of the way, I met somebody who was able to help me get there.”

She described her job as a Juvenile Court referee as “the best job on the face of the earth.”

Sobel has been contemplating retirement later this year but told the METNEWS that she had not yet made her decision.  


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