Friday, March 11, 2016
Retired Municipal Court Judge Harold Cherness Dies at 93
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Services will be held Sunday for retired Culver Municipal Court Judge Harold I. Cherness, who died yesterday at the age of 93.
Cherness, who retired in 1995 but sat on assignment until his 90th birthday, was appointed to the Culver Municipal Court in October 1975 by Gov. Jerry Brown. Prior to his selection, he was in private practice for 26 years and was president of the Culver City Democratic Club for 22 years.
When he became eligible to retire at 65 percent of salary in 1991, at the age of 68, he informed local officials that he would remain on the bench. The city responded with a celebration at the local senior center and the passage of a congratulatory resolution by the City Council.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., he attended UCLA prior to World War II, then served in the U.S. Army, mostly in the Pacific. Upon his honorable discharge from the military, he returned to UCLA, graduating in 1946.
Although his father encouraged him to enter the live poultry business, according to a newspaper profile, he entered law school at USC, earning his law degree and being admitted to the State Bar. Although he eventually became a certified specialist in criminal law, he also did probate, family law, and personal injury work, and said in an interview that he had been in court “every day.”
He declined to apply for elevation to the Superior Court, he said, because he didn’t want to leave the two-judge courthouse in Culver City, where he had lived since 1953. He was the first municipal court judge to receive the Criminal Courts Bar Association’s Trial Judge of the Year Award, bestowed in 1991.
He was also active in bar and civic activities, serving as president of the Lawyers Club of Los Angeles County and of the local chapter of B’nai Brith.
An obituary on the website of Hillside Memorial Park, where his funeral will take place Sunday at 4 p.m., described him as “a passionate believer in the law, a fierce defender of civil rights, a committed champion of the under-priviledged, and a loving father, husband, and friend of many.”
He is survived by his daughter, Janel, and son-in-law Marshall Bloom; son Darryl, daughter-in-law Amy Cherness, and granddaughter Isabell; and four step-children and seven grandchildren, the obituary said.
Hillside Memorial Park is located at 6001 W. Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles 90045. The phone number is (310) 641-0707.
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