Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Three Superior Court Commissioners Slate Retirements
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Three Los Angeles Superior Court commissioners have made retirement plans, the MetNews learned Friday.
Commissioners Thomas Grodin and John W. Green confirmed that they will be leaving the bench this summer, Grodin June 29 and Green July 31. Copelan is currently on vacation, but a court spokesperson said he has given notice of his intention to retire, but not of a specific date.
Grodin, 65, said his experiences on the bench have been “wonderful,” but that “I think it’s time” to call it a career. He was named commissioner in 1996 and has spent a total of 38 years in the law, he noted.
Grodin was a deputy alternate public defender for two years; a private attorney with a primarily, but not exclusively, criminal defense practice for nearly five years; and a deputy public defender for 15 years. As a commissioner, he has had assignments in criminal, juvenile, and dependency courts and has sat in Van Nuys since August 2004.
He said he has no specific plans, “other than spending time with my wife and daughter and taking it easy.” He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Marquette University School of Law.
Green, who turns 68 tomorrow, explained that he “wanted to leave this job while I still loved it” and will be spending more time with his family. He also has talked to some providers about private judging and hopes to improve his golf game, he said.
“I will miss this job,” he said, particularly because he will no longer be working with colleagues and staff for whom he has great affection. “I have had a lot of fabulous support, even with all of the budget problems,” he commented.
Green has been a commissioner for 16 years and practiced for more than 20 years before that, having worked as a deputy district attorney; been in a partnership with Robert Applegate, now a Los Angeles Superior Court judge; litigated at Musick, Peeler & Garrett; and worked in-house for State Farm Insurance Company.
A graduate of Stanford University and the Santa Clara University School of Law, Green spent two years in the Peace Corps in Thailand. “I don’t know if there’s a word in Thai for ‘alternative dispute resolution,’ but the Thai people are the consummate diplomats and peacemakers,” he remarked.
Green, whose retirement is effective July 31, has been sitting in the Central Arraignment Courts on Bauchet St. That assignment will end on Friday under the court’s consolidation plan, he explained, but he will continue to sit in Department 80 and handle overflow work from other courtrooms.
His courthouse will now be handling low-level cases and other matters related to the Criminal Justice Realignment Act, which has shifted responsibility for incarcerating some felons from the state to the counties.
Realignment has been controversial, but those who are working in the system “are all optimistic that a new view of rehabilitating felons will be successful,” Green said. It is, however, “a challenging undertaking for all [who work in] law enforcement and the courts.”
Copelan, 63, could not be reached for comment. He holds undergraduate and law degrees from Pepperdine University and has been a commissioner since 1997.
The court spokesperson said it was not certain whether he would be returning to a judicial assignment or simply retiring once he has used up his vacation time. His erstwhile courtroom, Department 67 at the Metropolitan Courthouse, has been reassigned to Judge Daniel L. Brenner as of next Monday.
Copyright 2013, Metropolitan News Company