Thursday, December 13, 2012
Superior Court Judge Wheatley to Retire Next Year
By JACKIE FUCHS, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Diana Wheatley is set to retire after 28 years on the bench, Wheatley told the MetNews yesterday.
Her retirement will be effective April 16, but her last day on the bench will be Feb. 28, she said.
Wheatley, 63, a California native, was elected a commissioner of the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1984 by the judges of the court, and appointed to the Superior Court by then-Gov. Gray Davis in 2000.
In her years on the bench she has adjudicated civil, criminal and juvenile claims, but says her most satisfying cases were those she handled as a municipal court commissioner.
“There were a lot of people without lawyers and I felt like I was doing a lot of justice,” she said, adding:
“I love lawyers. I’m married to a lawyer, I’m the mother of a lawyer, my two nieces are lawyers… [but] people and their problems interest me. When there’s no lawyer, you really deal with the person who has the problem.”
She said she was also proud of her past work as chair of the temporary judges committee, which helps the presiding justice select volunteer attorneys to sit as temporary judges of the superior court to hear cases primarily in small claims, traffic, unlawful detainer, family and civil non-jury matters.
Wheatley earned her undergraduate degree at Stanford and her law degree at UC Berkeley. She began her legal career in 1974 as an attorney at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, moving to the Los Angeles Municipal Court’s planning and research unit in 1980.
She started her judicial career in 1984 at the Bauchet Street Central Arraignment Court, moving to what is now the Stanley Mosk Courthouse to hear municipal court cases, and then to West Los Angeles and back downtown, before serving for a year as a judge in Children’s Court.
For the last 11 years she has been a Superior Court judge in the Santa Monica Courthouse, with time also spent in Culver City.
She said she likes the smaller courts because of the interaction with other judges and staff, which allows everyone to get to know each other. In Santa Monica, she said, the judges have breakfast together once a week and frequently lunch together as well.
Although she liked being at Mosk because she found downtown Los Angeles so interesting, she said, it was also “a little overwhelming.”
Wheatley says she is retiring so that she can do things with her husband, who has also retired. First up on their list is most likely a trip to England and Scotland next year.
Of her time on the bench, Wheatley says:
“It’s been a great experience—it’s just flown by. … I’ll miss it, but I’m ready for some new adventures.
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company