Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Judge William Beverly Jr. to Retire, Will Work on Local History Project
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Beverly Jr., presiding judge of the court’s Appellate Division, will retire Aug. 1, the judge said yesterday.
Beverly, 60, said he will step down to work on a project documenting the history of the City of Los Angeles, with particular emphasis on the contributions of African Americans and other ethnic minorities.
That history is “largely unknown and very rich,” Beverly—a native of the city—told the MetNews. “There is a cultural emergency in the amount of information being lost and I feel the need to respond to that as forcefully as possible.”
The project, which Beverly said will be overseen by a nonprofit organization that he is in the process of incorporating, “might take up a substantial amount of time,” at least in the beginning, he said, although he intends to do some private judging as well.
Although the group has not yet been incorporated, he explained, the project reached a stage of “dynamics and expansion” that influenced the timing of his departure from the court.
“It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of this state,” he said. “[Judging] is the greatest professional opportunity one could hope for.”
It is not yet certain what media the project will rely on for its presentation, Beverly said. But when it is completed, he commented, it will be “a celebration for the entire city.” Los Angeles, he said, “has a very rich history and if everybody knew it, I think they would be very proud of the city in which they have chosen to spend their time.”
In a memo to the court’s judges, Presiding Judge Robert Dukes said the court will miss “the high quality opinions which have been authored by our Appellate Division under [Beverly’s] guidance.”
Dukes said he would recommend that Judge Charles Lee, currently a member of the Appellate Division, be named to succeed Beverly as presiding judge. The final say belongs to Chief Justice Ronald M. George, although the presiding judge’s recommendation is normally followed.
Dukes said he was prepared to recommend Judge Patti Jo McKay, who is senior to Lee on the panel, but that she declined.
The appointment of Lee, one of several judges whose names have been sent to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation as possible appointees to the Court of Appeal, would serve the division well, Beverly said.
“I think Judge Lee will do an excellent job, just as he has in his present assignment,” Beverly said. “It’s an excellent choice.”
Beverly is a 1965 graduate of Pepperdine University. He was a Los Angeles County social worker while attending Southwestern University School of Law, from which he earned his degree in 1969.
He practiced in Hollywood for three years before forming a Long Beach firm with several other lawyers, including the late Everett Ricks Jr., who also became a Superior Court judge. He was also a member of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission and served as its vice president prior to being named to the Long Beach Municipal Court by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 1980.
He was elevated to the Superior Court by then-Gov. George Deukmejian in 1985.
He served as supervising judge in Torrance in 1994 and 1995 before transferring to a civil assignment in downtown Los Angeles, which he held until he began his Appellate Division service in 1999. He was named presiding judge in August 2000 following the elevation of Kathryn Doi Todd to the Court of Appeal.
He received Southwestern’s Outstanding Judicial Officer Award in 1996.
Beverly has also taught at California State University-Dominguez Hills, California State University-Long Beach and at the California Judicial College. He has been an MCLE lecturer and California Judges Association panelist and served on the CJA Executive Board from 1983 to 1985.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company