Thursday, June 26, 2014
Services Saturday for Retired Judge Raymond Cardenas
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Services are scheduled Saturday for retired Los Angeles Superior Judge Raymond Cardenas, who died Sunday at the age of 83.
Presiding Judge David Wesley informed judicial officers yesterday that the former jurist had “died peacefully surrounded by family members.” Cardenas was a judge of the court from August 1975, when he was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, to October 1995, when he retired to become a private judge.
Born in Lompoc, he came to Los Angeles as a child and lived in West Los Angeles. His father was a railroad worker.
In a 2006 interview with an alumni publication, he explained his affinity for UCLA, where he earned his undergraduate and law degrees.
As an 11-year-old in 1942, he said, he was able to attend a summer camp at the university, with the help of the county’s public assistance department. He loved the experience, and after graduating from high school, was admitted as an undergraduate.
While later serving in the military, he was unable to take entrance exams, but was invited to interview with the then-dean for a place in the law school. He was turned down, and was in tears as he was leaving the office, he recalled years later, but his “guardian angel,” the dean’s secretary, helped get him an interview with the dean of Loyola Law School.
He was admitted to Loyola and transferred to UCLA a year later—when the school had a new dean.
He graduated in 1959 and worked as an insurance adjuster for two years before joining Cardenas & Ceragioli, a partnership with a friend whom he had worked with at the insurance company. He did criminal and personal injury litigation and family law and later handled general business matters.
He had a lot of Spanish-speaking clients, he once told a reporter, because he was the only lawyer on the Westside who spoke the language.
He became active in civic groups, and served as president of what later became the Mexican American Bar Association. He credited politically active friends with helping him secure one of Brown’s first judicial appointments.
He was assigned to Central Criminal from 1975 through 1977 and Central Civil from 1978 until his retirement.
His most publicized case on the civil bench was the paternity trial of Chad Everett, a popular actor of the day. A jury determined that Everett was not the father of the plaintiff’s child, born in 1973, despite an HLA test—considered the most accurate scientific method of assessing paternity at the time—which showed a nearly 95 percent likelihood that Everett fathered the child.
Cardenas denied motions to overturn the verdict and the judgment was upheld on appeal.
Saturday’s memorial service is scheduled to begin at noon, at the Corpus Christi Church, 880 Toyopa Drive, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. The phone number is 310-454-1328.
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