Thursday, June 7, 2001
Court of Appeal Justice Ramona Godoy Perez Dies at 54
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Court of Appeal Justice Ramona Godoy Perez of this district’s Div. Five died yesterday at the age of 54.
The justice’s family has asked that the cause of death not be disclosed, Div. Five Presiding Justice Paul A. Turner said.
“Justice Godoy Perez possessed an uncompromising belief that the law should be enforced in spirit and in truth,” Turner said in a statement. “To paraphrase the prophet Amos, her judgment ran down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.”
The justice had been on sick leave since Feb. 8. Turner informed other members of the court in April that she was seriously ill, and said last month that her return to work was not anticipated.
The California Supreme Court adjourned yesterday morning’s session, which was held in Los Angeles, in her memory.
In a conversation with reporters yesterday afternoon, Turner said the late justice was admired for her sunny disposition.
Godoy Perez was known to friends and court personnel alike for her ever-present smile, Turner said. “The smile carried over in the way she worked with colleagues and staff,” he said.
Godoy Perez was appointed to the Court of Appeal by then-Gov. Pete Wilson on Dec. 1, 1992, and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments on Jan. 12, 1993. She previously served as a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court, under appointment by then-Gov. George Deukmejian, from Oct. 10, 1985 until her elevation.
The two Republican governors made the appointments notwithstanding her registration as a Democrat.
Democratic Gov. Edmund Brown Jr. gave Perez her first judicial appointment, placing her on the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1980.
She served as a deputy Los Angeles city attorney from 1977-80, was an attorney adviser to the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1973-77, and was an attorney with Fresno County Legal Services from 1972-73.
Perez was president-elect of the Mexican-American Bar Assn. at the time of her Municipal Court appointment, and was also active in California Women Lawyers and later the National Association of Women Judges.
She also served on the Judicial Council Task Force on Court/Community Outreach while a member of the Court of Appeal.
The jurist received her law degree in 1972 from the University of San Diego School of Law, and earned her bachelor’s degree in political science in 1969 from Fullerton State College.
Among the many cases in which she authored opinions for the Court of Appeal was Shulman v. Group W Productions, Inc., a 1993 case in which the panel held that producers of a “reality-based” television program could be sued for taping the air rescue of two auto-accident victims without their consent.
The ruling was upheld by the California Supreme Court.
Godoy Perez is survived by her three children, Hector, 19, Elena, 17, and Elisa, 14, as well as a brother and a sister. Funeral arrangements were pending as of yesterday afternoon, Turner said.