Thursday, June 19, 2003
Retired Commissioner Herbert M. Klein Dead at 71
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Private funeral services are pending for retired Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Herbert M. Klein, who died last Saturday at age 71.
Klein, who retired from the court in 1993, oversaw the Central District’s eminent domain department for two decades. He also heard family law cases.
Klein, a native of New York City, graduated from UCLA in 1955. He received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in 1959. He worked as a right-of-way agent for the county flood control district before joining the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office in 1963.
He prosecuted misdemeanors in his early days there, but eventually moved to the real property section and became a specialist in eminent domain. He worked on several major cases, including one in which the court awarded the city nearly $5 million from the state, which took a portion of a park for an extension of the Hollywood freeway.
In 1969, Klein was hired by the Superior Court as a Juvenile Court referee and was named a commissioner a year later.
Among the cases he heard in the eminent domain department was one in which a convent claimed the City of Alhambra was violating the First Amendment by not allowing a rezoning which the plaintiff claimed it needed to sell the property to prevent insolvency.
Ramona Convent of the Holy Names said the city deprived it of religious freedom by making a “de facto land grab” which “directly and adversely affects Ramona Convent’s ability to discharge its mission to pass on, through education, religious values to a new generation.” The convent had operated a school at the site since 1889 but said it lacked the money to repair damage sustained by the school’s main building in the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake.
Klein rejected the convent’s claim, a decision affirmed by the Court of Appeal.
Survivors include his wife, retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Glennette Blackwell.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company