Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, August 7, 2020


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Edmund Clarke Jr. to Retire Sept. 24 From Los Angeles Superior Court


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Edmund Willcox Clarke Jr. said yesterday he will retire from the bench on Sept. 24.

His last day of actual service, he noted, will be Aug. 28. It is customary for judges to use up available vacation before leaving office.

The jurist, who turned 70 last month, was appointed to his post on May 23, 2007, by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Then a Torrance practitioner, he was a partner in the firm of Stark & Clarke, the successor to Stark, Rasak & Clarke, formed in 1992.

He had previously been a deputy Los Angeles County public defender, an associate and eventually partner in Kirtland and Packard, then a partner in Baker, Silberberg, and Keener.

His law degree is from UCLA.

Public Admonishment

Clarke received a public admonishment on Sept. 29, 2016 from the Commission on Judicial Performance, which said in its decision:

“Judge Clarke’s mistreatment of four jurors in this matter, together with his prior discipline for misconduct that included making discourteous and undignified remarks to a propria persona defendant, convinces us that a public admonishment is the appropriate discipline.”

The special masters who conducted a three-day hearing—Court of Appeal Justice Carol D. Codrington of the Fourth District’s Div. Two, Ventura Superior Court Judge Vincent J. O’Neill Jr., and Orange Superior Court Judge Clay M. Smith—largely exonerated Clarke in its report, but the commission said it would draw its own conclusions.

Judge Comments

The judge said yesterday:

“I am forever grateful to Justice Codrington, Judge O’Neal and Judge Smith for their time and their discernment. The CJP, showing absent concern for due process and fairness, snubbed their masters’ decision.”

The Alliance of California Judges submitted an amicus curiae brief urging deference to the masters’ findings and the California Judges Association (“CJA”) also lent support to the jurist. Clarke commented:

“The Alliance first and later CJA then spoke out for judges throughout the state. They rebuked those who devalue traditional hearing processes. The commission behaved as none of us should behave. Later they reformed their rules in response to my counsel’s criticism. Even more quietly they recused themselves from a later frivolous claim.”

Lauds Colleagues, Staff

Clarke also had this to say:

“I have been privileged to work among people with remarkable wisdom and intellect. From the first day I met talented court staff and judges. To be considered a colleague and friend by such people is an honor. The expression ‘twice blessed’ applies.

“Shakespeare’s Portia would agree that due process and fairness bless both her that gives and her that receives. In that way this career has been a gift.”


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