Tuesday, January 14, 2003
Superior Court Judge J. Michael Byrne Slates Retirement
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J. Michael Byrne will retire after almost 21 years on the county trial bench, the MetNews learned yesterday.
Byrne has tentatively set a retirement date for Feb. 8, the day before his 60th birthday, a court official said. The judge was not available for comment, but a colleague—who did not wish to be named—said Byrne turned in his papers last week and is going to join a private judging organization.
Byrne was a deputy district attorney and adviser to the Los Angeles County Grand Jury when he was appointed to the Rio Hondo Municipal Court in March 1982. The self-described conservative Democrat unsuccessfully sought to be elevated by Republican Gov. George Deukmejian, then ran unopposed for the Superior Court in 1988.
Byrne graduate from Loyola University in 1965 and from its law school in 1968. He began his legal career as a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles in 1969, then served a stint in the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office before returning in 1973.
He began his Superior Court tenure at the downtown Criminal Courts Building, now the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, where he tried felonies—including capital cases—and occasionally presided over the master calendar.
The longtime Pasadena resident later sat in the Northeast District, where he served as supervising judge in 1995 and 1996, and in Juvenile Court, and currently presides over a trial department in Pasadena.
Early in his tenure on the Superior Court, he told a reporter that when he had a tough decision to make, he tried to think about how other judges in his family would resolve the matter.
He was preceded to the Superior Court by his cousin, Richard “Skip” Byrne, and his brother-in-law, Gabriel Gutierrez, both of whom are now retired. Another brother-in-law, Arturo Gutierrez, is a Ventura Superior Court judge.
His father, James T. Byrne, was a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner, a post to which his wife, Guillermina Gutierrez Byrne, was recently elected. Senior U.S. District Judge Wm. Matthew Byrne Jr.—whose father was also a federal district judge—is a cousin.
Another cousin, William E. Byrne, was an El Dorado Superior Court judge.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company