Friday, July 27, 2001
Judge Dan Oki Selected as Head of Superior Court Criminal Division
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dan Oki will serve as the new Criminal Division supervising judge beginning today after being selected last week by Presiding Judge James Bascue.
Oki will replace Judge Stephen O’Neil who died unexpectedly in his home July 10.
“I am extremely pleased that Judge Oki has agreed to serve in this capacity,” Bascue said in a statement yesterday. “He is a judge with tremendous talent and experience, who is an extremely able administrator, has a clear vision of the goals of the court and is an effective consensus builder.”
Oki expressed surprise about his selection, saying that he received his unexpected marching orders from Bascue on Friday with an expectation he will be at the Criminal Courts Building downtown Monday.
“I knew I was being considered, but getting the call was a surprise,” Oki said. “I haven’t even gotten boxes to pack my things from my office.”
“Hopefully they can get my computer and my desk over there in time,” he said.
A nine-year veteran of the bench, Oki takes the reigns of the criminal court during a time of numerous challenges, including the implementation of Prop. 36 involving non-violent drug offenses and the One Trial jury service system, which will require the court to deal with a higher number of jurors each year.
“I think this is a great honor,” Oki said. “I’ve always enjoyed a challenge and this is going to be a tremendous challenge.”
Oki said he has already contacted Criminal Division acting Supervising Judge David S. Wesley asking for his assistance in the transition.
“I told him I’m going to be leaning on him quite a bit,” Oki said. “While it’s a good challenge, it’s also a little intimidating.”
Wesley will return to his duties as Criminal Division assistant supervising judge, a post he has held since January.
Oki said he will be meeting with all the judges and others involved with the criminal courts to discuss ways to deal with upcoming issues and challenges.
“I just need to meet everyone and come up with a plan,” Oki said.
Appointed to the Superior Court by then-Gov. Pete Wilson, Oki has served as supervising judge of the East District since 1998.
Before moving to the Superior Court, Oki served on the Citrus Municipal Court for five years and led that court as its presiding judge for two years.
Prior to coming to the bench, Oki spent 16 years in private practice including six years as a sole practitioner in West Covina and ten years at the Covina-based law firm of Jacobsohn, Christian, Stewart & Oki.
He received his law degree from Loyola Law School.
Judge Carol Rehm, Jr. will serve as assistant supervising judge for the misdemeanor caseload.
Judge Robert M. Martinez will replace Oki as the supervising judge of the East District.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company