Judge Orozco Says Her Retirement From Superior Court Means No More Working
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yolanda Orozco, who is readying to retire after 10½ years on the bench, will not offer her services to any dispute resolution firm or return to law practice.
“My retirement will be just that—no working.” she told the METNEWS.
She had been working in the legal field since becoming an assistant U.S. attorney in 1979, the year she graduated from the law school at Stanford and was admitted to the State Bar. Orozco went on to hold various positions as a lawyer, and was at Jones Day at the time of her appointment to the bench in December 2010 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Her last day in Department 31 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse will be March 21. After using up earned vacation time, Orozco will officially retire on May 5.
“It is a well-worn cliché, but being a judicial officer is the best job in the world. My departure is bittersweet because I have loved each and every day at the court.
“I would like to think I was a good and fair judge. I know I tried very hard to be exactly that.”
Although a Democrat, she ruled on April 2, 2021, in favor of Salem Media, owner of the conservative blog RedState.com, in an action against it by former U.S. Rep. Katie Hill, a Democrat from Santa Clarita. The website had published a link to embarrassing photographs of Hill with a female staff member.
That publication was instrumental in bringing about pressure that led to her resignation from Congress.
At the urging of Los Angeles attorney Douglas Collodel, Orozco granted an anti-SLAPP motion, holding that “the intimate images” that were published “spoke to plaintiff’s character and qualifications for her position, as they allegedly depicted Plaintiff with a campaign staffer with whom it was alleged she had a sexual affair,” declaring:
“Accordingly, the images were a matter of public issue or public interest.”
Orozco also found in favor of other defendants. She ordered that Hill pay roughly $220,000 in attorney fees—under a provision of the anti-SLAPP statute, Code of Civil Procedure §425.16—to the defendants, including about $84,000 to cover fees of lawyers representing Jennifer Van Laar, managing editor of Red State.
On Jan. 11, Orozco gained wide news coverage when she rebuffed Live Nation’s bid to topple, at the pleading stage, a wrongful death action against it over the murder of rapper “Drakeo the Ruler” at the Banc of California Stadium, saying:
“The lawsuit sufficiently alleges that security was lax at the second checkpoint and that despite the presence of security guards and metal detectors, some vehicles were not adequately searched or not searched at all, thus allowing the assailants to enter the ‘all-access VIP’ area.”
Orozco related that she has “many plans” and her “ ‘To Do’ list keeps growing.”
The judge said:
“We have an old farmhouse in the south of France—Provence. Because of COVID, we have not spent much time there for awhile. We intend to spend a month or two each year at the farmhouse, travel to visit my husband’s family in England and Spain and do more traveling elsewhere in Europe, Asia and South America.”
She reported that she also plans to “spend time with our new puppy, Luna; sit on a board or two; learn to play piano; brush up on my high-school French; do some volunteer work; plant a vegetable garden; read more books; see more films; go to more museums; declutter my house,” noting:
“That last entry will definitely remain last on the list.”
The judge said that fond memories of service on the Superior Court are “so, so many.”
She recalled serving at the “Metro Court”—where traffic matters are heard—saying:
“There must be something in the air at Metro as everyone loves it there. Perhaps it’s the traditions.”
Those traditions, she explained, include “weekly breakfasts sponsored by a judge” and “frequent group lunching.”
She said of sitting in the Probate Department that she dealt with “vitally important, difficult and complex work,” remarking:
“I was challenged every day in many ways—all good, and I think it made me a better judge.”
Orozco was, for several years, chair of the court’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She recalled the committee sponsoring “impactful community programs, especially with youth in the schools.”
Copyright 2023, Metropolitan News Company