Friday, February 15, 2013
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lefkowitz to Retire
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Linda K. Lefkowitz is retiring, she told the MetNews yesterday.
The judge said she would begin taking accumulated leave after today, although she plans to return for a few days to resolve some outstanding cases prior to her formal retirement date of April 5.
Lefkowitz, 72, recently completed 20 years on the bench. She said a health scare last spring figured into the timing of her retirement.
Law enforcement was alerted to appear on June 18 after Lefkowitz failed to appear at her Santa Monica courtroom. She was found shortly after 11:30 p.m. at a McDonald’s restaurant in Carson, where she met some people who had apparently seen television news coverage of her disappearance and called authorities.
Lefkowitz had earlier started chemotherapy for breast cancer. She said yesterday that about 1.5 percent of chemotherapy patients suffer similar episodes of memory loss.
She returned to work after a brief hospitalization. The incident was harder on her family than her, because “I don’t remember any of it,” she said.
“I feel fine, but it makes you stop and think,” she told the MetNews. While being a judge has been “extraordinary,“ she said, “it’s time to spend time traveling with my husband,” a retired engineer who has been very supportive of her career.
The mother of two began that career in her late 30s, after graduating from California State University, Northridge and UCLA School of Law.
After a brief respite—“we may go to Hawaii for a week and just stare at the sun”—she said she plans to join ADR Services, where several of her former West District colleagues have landed as private judges, and hear a broad variety of civil cases, just as she has in her court.
“Santa Monica is a hard place to leave,” the Pacific Palisades resident said. “It’s friendly and cozy” and “a great community courthouse” with “excellent staff.”
The Cleveland, Ohio native was a Superior Court research attorney before joining the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, where she worked from 1980 to 1993. She was an assistant Los Angeles city attorney defending the Los Angeles Police Department in some high-profile liability cases, and earned a commendation from the department in 1985 and a Woman of the Year honor from the City Council in 1990.
Then-Gov. Pete Wilson named her to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1993 and elevated her to the Superior Court in 1996. She is a former supervising judge of the West District.
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