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					                                                                Spring 2006




L o s Ange l e s S u p erior Court Jud i c ia l M a g az i ne




                                              Our Court’s
                                        Diverse
                                         Heritage
Le t t e r F r o m T h e E d i t o r s




A
           professed goal of public          black neighborhood where her            life in Remembering Bataan Day:
           policy in this state is ever      parents have opened and manage          Araw Ng Kagitingan.
           greater inclusion of and          a grocery store? Judge Tammy                 A common theme of these
participation by “o t h e rs” historically   Chung Ryu shares her perceptions        articles is the keen appreciation
excluded from public life. Diversity         in Justice In A Country Without         of our open system of justice
is the label generally attached to           a Majority.                             expressed by judges whose diverse
this desirable goal.                             Judge Donna Groman coura-           backg rounds have sensitized them
    For the Los Angeles Superior             geously recounts her formative          to the stigma of otherness that
Court, diversity is not just a buzz-         experiences as a lesbian growing        can result in denial of access to
word. Even a random sampling of              up in a homophobic world. Her           the court.
our roster of bench officers shows           article, Tikkun Olam, sheds light            Diversity on our bench assures
participation by members of many             on how her experiences influence        to an even greater measure that
races, ethnicities, national origins,        her approach to judging.                litigants and jurors who appear in
and sexual orientations.                         How has a Vietnamese refugee,       our courtrooms will recognize not
    If not just a buzzword, what             fleeing from the fall of Saigon as      only familiar-sounding surnames
is d i ve rsity all about? The best          a child, been affected by the           and kindred skin tones, but also
answer is found in the articles              experience? Insight on this question    sympathetic cultural sensitivities.
submitted by judges whose                    awaits your reading of Judge                 And that is what diversity on
formative life experiences were              Jacqueline Nguyen’s article, A          the bench is all about. ■
shaped by their diversity, by their          Flight From Saigon To America.
journeys, and, more importantly,                 Several other judges generously
by the journeys of their immigrant           open their histories for our edifi-
parents, from “otherness” into               cation. Judge Rolf Treu, whose
mainstream American life.                    family immigrated to this country
    Although he was born after               while he was a child, narrates
the fo rced internment of Japanese           his family’s persecution, as ethnic
Americans during the Second                  Germans, in Latvia by the Bolshe-
World War, the sting of such a               viks in Freedom From Tyranny.
legacy of injustice resonates in                 The invasion of Cyprus, his
Judge Fred Fujioka’s account                 family’s home, in 1974 is the forma-
of his family’s history in the               tive experience that drove Judge
p o i g n a ntly titled, It Might Be         Zaven Sinanian, as a child, with
B et ter For Us Later.                       his family to this Country as war
    How does a barrio boy remem-             refugees in One Sunny July
ber his childhood growing up in              Morning.
East LA? Turn to Judge Richard                   Judge Ralph Ongkeko, who
Rico’s story, The Neighborhood.              was born in the Phillipines, recounts
    What does a Korean immigrant             the experience of an immigrant
feel as a child growing up in a              child’s encounter with American
       Publisher
       William A. MacLaughlin

       Editor in Chief
       Victor E. Chávez

       Associate Editors
       Conrad Aragon
       Rita Miller
       John Shepard Wiley Jr.
                                        Judge           ENGLISH




       Staff Editor             Juez  SPANISH
       Allan Parachini

       Staff Support
                                                       Richter              GERMAN


       Patricia Kelly
       Susan Matherly                       Pyccknn               RUSSIAN

       Katherine Roberts
                                HO NGOC D U C
                                                        VIETNAMESE
       Design/Graphics
       Corky Retson
                                   Pansa              KOREAN

       Reproduction
       Ken Stebbing                                   Hatulan        TAGALOG
       George Fierro
       Jerry Williams
                                          Gadi        LEBANESE

       Public Information
       Office                   Sahib
                                    INDIA ( HINDI )
       (213) 974-5227
       (213) 621-7642 fax
                                        P.Safari                 FARSI
       Published by
       the Los Angeles
       Superior Court             Tadavor             ARMENIAN

       111 North Hill Street
       Los Angeles,
       California 90012




2   Gavel to Gavel
                                                                                      Inside
         Di • ver • si • ty
             (di vur’se te) n., pl., -ties                       Presiding Judge’s Message                      3
a. The fact or quality of
                                                            by Judge William A. MacLaughlin
     being diverse; difference
           b. A point or respect in
        which things differ.                               “It Might Be Better For Us Later ” 4
THE AMERICAN HERITAGE ® DICTIONARY OF
                                                                    by Judge Fred J. Fujioka
           THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE , FOURTH EDITION


                                                                         The Neighborhood                       6
                                                                    by Judge Richard E. Rico
THE COVER DEPICTS THE MANY IMAGES
FROM OUR JUDICIAL AUTHORS’ LIVES . THEY            Justice In A Country Without A Majority                      8
ARE PIECED INTO A GRAPHIC ANALOGY OF                              by Judge Tammy Chung Ryu
THE AMERICAN FLAG TO REPRESENT THE
DIVERSE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ALL
AMERICANS CONTRIBUTE TO OUR COUNTRY.                              One Sunny July Morning 10
                                                                 by Judge Zaven V. Sinanian
from upper left corner down in the red stripe:
JUDGE DONNA GROMAN AND HER PARTNER
BACKPACKING , JUDGE ZAVEN SINANIAN ’S                                 Freedom From Tyranny 12
GRANDPARENTS’ WEDDING PORTRAIT FROM
THE EARLY 1900 S , JUDGE JACQUELINE
                                                                        by Judge Rolf M. Treu
NGUYEN ’S GRANDMOTHER IN TRADITIONAL
VIETNAMESE DRESS , JUDGE FRED FUJIOKA’S                                        Tikkun Olam 14
FAMILY IN FRONT OF THEIR HOME IN EAST
LOS ANGELES . JUDGE KELVIN FILER SMILES                              by Judge Donna Groman
IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PHOTO, JUDGE
SANJAY KUMAR FLANKED BY HIS PARENTS ,
JUDGE RALPH ONGKEKO ON THE BENCH AND
                                                           A Flight From Saigon To America 16
JUDGE SINANIAN AT THE ARMENIAN GENO -                             by Judge Jacqueline Nguyen
CIDE MEMORIAL IN YEREVAN , ARMENIA .

in the white stripe from the top down:                            Remembering Bataan Day 18
JUDGE SINANIAN , JUDGE GROMAN IN HER                                by Judge Rafael Ongkeko
NAVAL UNIFORM , THE DETENTION CAMP AT
HEART MOUNTAIN IN WYOMING WHERE
JUDGE FUJIOKA’S FAMILY WAS HELD, JUDGE                                   Born In Amerrikka 20
ROLF TREU ’S GRANDPARENTS , THE 1992 LOS                          by Judge Soussan Bruguera
ANGELES RIOTS THAT INFLUENCED JUDGE
TAMMY CHUNG RYU ’S CAREER PATHWAY,
JUDGE NGUYEN AND HER FAMILY WAITING AT                                    The Compton Kid 22
THE AIRPORT IN SAIGON AND A SCENE FROM
THE BATAAN DEATH MARCH THAT TOUCHED
                                                                     by Judge Kelvin D. Filer
JUDGE ONGKEKO’S FAMILY DURING WORLD
WAR II .                                                                             Diversity 24
At the upper right corner:                                               by Judge James Kaddo
JUDGE JAMES KADDO WITH A PICTURE OF
HIS GRANDCHILDREN .
                                                                    Seeking Gold Mountain 26
                                                              by Justice Elwood Lui, Retired

                                                                           Family Reflections 28
                                                                       by Judge Sanjay Kumar

                                                                                              Of Note 30




                                                                 Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   1
Letter From The Presiding Judge




by Judge William A. MacLaughlin


         his issue of Gavel to Gavel    racial, ethnic or gender back-


T        is historic. It represents
         what may be the first occa-
         sion on which the views on
diversity of a broad cross section
of our judges have been assem-
                                        ground. They are a remarkable
                                        collection of tales, just as the
                                        group of authors is a remarkable
                                        collection of people.
                                            Ironically, the planning and
bled and published in one place.        preparation of this issue began
    The authors were chosen             some months ago, considerably
because they represent breadth of       before the current public debate
diversity of race, ethnicity, gender    about the present and future
and sexual orientation on our Court.    status of immigrants in our society.
    It was not anticipated that such    It was and is not intended to state
a high proportion of these judges       or espouse a position on any of
would themselves be from foreign-       the issues in that debate. Rather,
born immigrant backgrounds. Eight       it was simply intended to demon-
of the 14 authors are in this cate-     strate the diversity of the back-
gory, representing origins in           grounds and experiences of our
Vietnam, South Korea, China,            judicial officers who, from what-
Cyprus, Germany, the Philippines,       ever background, represent the
Lebanon and Iran.                       changing face of our community
    Three of these judges were          and its institutions. In any event,
caught up in wars in their native       these are stories of our colleagues
countries when they were chil-          with interesting, and in some
dren. Two of them represent the         cases, gripping, personal experi-
first generations born in their         ences which underscore in very
countries of origin in the decade       human terms the rapid evolution
after World War II — fresh enough       of Los Angeles County. ■
that the conflict had directly
touched their parents.
    One author’s family was interned
in a detention camp for Japanese-
Americans during that war.
    The articles reflect strikingly
different life experiences but they
also embody some common
themes on issues such as becoming
one of the first judges ever to serve
on the Court from a particular




                                                                               Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   3
                                                       the corner of First and Indiana. I think Grandpa had
                                                       to put the house title in the names of his children.
                                                       They were born here. They were citizens, and they
                                                       could own land.
                                                          The F.B.I. picked up my grandfather two hours
                                                       after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. They
                                                       took him away for six months. The family had no
                                                       idea where he was, whether he was dead or alive. It

“ It Might                                             turns out he was in solitary confinement in a cell in
                                                       Leavenworth the whole time.
                                                          I get my hair from Grandpa Fred. Before Leaven-


  Be Better                                            worth his hair was jet black, like mine mostly still is.
                                                       Six months later, after Leavenworth, my grandfa-
                                                       ther’s hair had turned all white.
                                                          Grandpa never spoke of this experience to anyone.

  For Us                                                  Pearl Harbor happened on Dec. 7, 1941. On April
                                                       1, 1942, my dad did something he never really
                                                       explained to me. He enlisted in the U.S. Army. It


  Later”                                               would be another two months before he got any
                                                       news about his father, so in some ways Dad’s deci-
                                                       sion to enlist still puzzles me.
                                                          All he ever told me was, “It was April Fool’s
                                                       Day.” But President Franklin D. Roosevelt had
 by Judge Fred J. Fujioka                              signed Executive Order No. 9066 in February, 1942,
                                                       which would eventually lead to the internment of
                                                       110,000 Japanese-Americans. On April 1, 1942, the
     am named after my grandfather. He was “Jiro”




 I
                                                       government started rounding people up for the
     in Japan, but he made it “Fred” after the long    camps. Dad enlisted that same day. He was impul-
     trip to Los Angeles a century ago. That makes     sive. Perhaps he himself did not fully understand his
     me a third generation Angeleno. The law has       motivation at the time.
     affected my family here, but not in the way you      While Dad was in the Army, the rest of the family
     might expect for a judge.                         got relocated. First they were taken to the Santa
    Grandpa got to L.A. just before the so-called      Anita racetrack. The place had been pressed into
 “Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907” stopped               duty on short notice; there was still horse dung and
 immigration from Japan. President Theodore            straw all around. Then the family was shipped to
 Roosevelt sealed that deal, which created a wall      Heart Mountain Relocation Camp in northern
 from the hostility that my grandfather’s generation   Wyoming. Their bank accounts were confiscated
 faced in America. The law also barred that first
 generation from Japan — the issei — from owning
 land. You had to be a citizen to buy land then, and
 the issei were prohibited from becoming citizens.
    Grandpa was educated and urbane. He attended
 Cal Tech, and he invented and marketed a coal oil
 fuel engine in Japan. Grandpa also created the
 second largest Oldsmobile dealership in California
 by selling cars and trucks to Japanese farmers in
 the area.
    There’s an old picture of Grandpa standing in
 front of a house he bought in Los Angeles. My dad,
 William Fujioka, is in that picture too, along with
 his mother, his three brothers, and his sister. The   THE FUJIOKAS IN FRONT OF THEIR EAST LOS ANGELES HOME ,
 house is about three miles east of downtown, near     CIRCA LATE   1920’ S



 4   Gavel to Gavel
                                                                                                                         and their personal property was taken. Heart           Americans
                                                                                                                         Mountain was a big change from L.A. The winters        to die in that war.
                                                                                                                         get down to 30 below zero.                                 The paradoxes are all over the place. Here was
                                                                                                                            My family never told me much about this time.       Dad, born and raised in Los Angeles, but officially
                                                                                                                         They were ashamed of having been sent to camp.         classed as an enemy
                                                                                                                         All my family ever told me was that it was dusty       alien by the United
                                                                                                                         and cold. I was born in 1951.                          States.
                                                                                                                            In the Army, Dad served with the storied 442nd      He was fighting for
                                                                                                                         Regimental Combat Team. He was wounded twice           his country while his
                                                                                                                         and awarded the Bronze Star. The 442nd was a           country was taking
                                                                                                                         segregated Japanese-American unit of the U.S.          his family’s property
                                                                                                                         Army. For its size and length of service, it is the    and locking up his
                                                                                                                         most decorated U.S. unit in the history of the         people in a barren           DA D ( C
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ENTER)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             A N D H IS
                                                                                                                         United States.                                         place. Yet Dad and his                                  C O U S IN
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   S
                                                                                                                            There are all kinds of stories about the 442. One   buddies outfought everybody in sight,
                                                                                                                         is about the Lost Battalion. Some 200 guys from        going back for more, like they had some enormous
                                                                                                                         the Texas National Guard got surrounded by an          thing to prove for all time.
                                                                                                                         SS Panzer unit, an elite German formation. The            Why? Dad never said. He died
                                                                                                                         Germans were making things very bad for the lost       in 1992, and he never talked about the war. His
                                                                                                                         Texas battalion. So the Army sent the 442 to try a     generation was that way — this John Wayne thing.
                                                                                                                         rescue. The 442 got the Texans out, but at a cost.         Some things I do understand. The 442 was full
                                                                                                                                                                                                         of teenagers who knew each
C O U R T E S Y O F T H E B A N C R O F T L I B R A R Y, U N I V E R S I T Y O F C A L I F O R N I A , B E R K E L E Y




                                                                                                                                                                                                         other from before, who had
                                                                                                                                                                                                         grown up together. The Army
                                                                                                                                                                                                         did not replace the fallen with
                                                                                                                                                                                                         new soldiers, because the 442
                                                                                                                                                                                                         was segregated. With casual-
                                                                                                                                                                                                         ties, the unit just shrank.
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Every wounded man knew his
                                                                                                                                                                                                         pals would continue to face
                                                                                                                                                                                                         the challenges, but with a
                                                                                                                                                                                                         smaller force. The men
                                                                                                                                                                                                         expected to go back to the
                                                                                                                             On April 1, 1942,                                                           same small community after
                                                                                                                               the government started                                                    the war, and knew any
                                                                                                                         rounding people up                                                              dishonor would travel with
                                                                                                                                   for the camps.                                                        them. They faced some duties
                                                                                                                                                                                                         hard to dodge.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           There was another thing too.
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Since my father’s death, I
                                                                                                                         Of the 1500 men in the 442, 650 were wounded and       have talked to other vets of the 442. They are old
                                                                                                                         200 were killed. It is an arresting calculus, I’ve     now, and when they gather together they reminisce
                                                                                                                         always thought, for a mission to rescue 200.           about those days of glory. They knew all about the
                                                                                                                            An old picture shows my dad and his two cousins     overt segregation and the hostile laws
                                                                                                                         after that Lost Battalion action. The three were in    while they were fighting. But they
                                                                                                                         southern France, recovering from wounds from the       said to each other, if we do well here,
                                                                                                                         fight. After that photo, one of my Dad’s cousins       it might be better for us after the
                                                                                                                         volunteered to go back to the front again, even        war.
                                                                                                                         though it was clear the war was winding down. In           They were right. Now my brother
                                                                                                                         the last three weeks of World War II, that cousin      is the chief financial officer for the
                                                                                                                         was killed in battle. He was among the last            City of Los Angeles. And I am a
                                                                                                                                                                                judge of the Superior Court. ■

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   5
The Neighborhood
by Judge Richard E. Rico


           hen I initially set out to write an article      Although, even then, the a neighborhood was




W
           for Gavel to Gavel, I was somewhat at         known as a gang area, growing up there in the 1960s
           a loss. I was asked to write about my         now seems more prosaic. The gangs were there
           own background and heritage which,            and I grew up in the middle of them, but somehow
           when one thinks of one’s own history,         they were only peripherally a part of my life.
           seems rather mundane.                                           ,
                                                         “Geraghty Loma” “White Fence”, “Maravilla”—
    But after a long day on the bench listening to       these were gang names with which I was familiar.
preliminary hearings in Division 32 at the Clara         The gang members in the area were known to us
Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center down-           as pachucos and my parents told us to avoid them.
town, I started thinking of my own experiences.             Did I belong to a gang? My first thought was no,
    I was born and raised in East Los Angeles —          but then again, I was part of a group of kids in the
more specifically, that unincorporated part of           neighborhood who, except for a few cousins, lived
the county known as City Terrace, only a few             within two or three blocks of each other. We were
miles from downtown. In the midst of a big city,         between 6 and 10. We hung out together, went to
it still feels as if I had grown up in a small town.     the park, rode our bikes, and played games




                      In the midst of a big city, it still feels
                                 as if I had grown up in a small town




    CITY TERRACE




6    Gavel to Gavel
                                                   baseball field for baseballs sufficient to sustain
                                                   our own sandlot games, the college was a great
                                                   source of entertainment.
     Did I belong to a gang?                          Living near Cal State L. A. also had other
     My first thought was no,                      benefits. While my sister and I were in elemen-
     but then again...                             tary school, my mother was the “room mom.”
                                                   When I went off to high school, she continued
                                                   helping at school by becoming a teacher’s aide.
                                                   Eventually, she took classes at Cal State L. A.
                                                   and graduated, obtaining her teaching credential.
                                                   She taught first and second grade students at
                                                   my old school, City Terrace Elementary.
                                                      The neighborhood itself was varied. I was
                                                   only 4 when my parents, my younger sister and
                                                   I moved into our house on Miller Avenue.
                                                   There was a synagogue up the street. Our next
                                                   door neighbor, Mrs. Davis, I would later learn,
                                                   had survived the holocaust. She had even shown
                                                   my mother the tattooed number on her arm and
                                                   explained that her entire family had been killed
                                                   in concentration camps. I don’t think I compre-
                                                   hended what she must have gone through.
                                                      To us kids, she was just the old lady next
                                                   door who got angry when we went running
                                                   through her yard. On the other hand, she did let
                                                   us take all the apricots from her tree so long as
                                                   we picked some for her. Those apricots are still
THE FAMILY HOME ON MILLER AVENUE IN CITY TERRACE
                                                   the only apricots I have enjoyed eating.
                                                   Ironically, just down the street lived a couple of
                                                   Japanese-American families, and I would only
together.                                          learn much later that members of those families
    We had nicknames — aka “monikers.” Arturo      spent time in internment camps in Northern
was “Turtle”, Alberto was “Beto.” I was called     California during World War II.
“Profé”, short for professor (I wore glasses and      Eventually, our group broke up. The differ-
was the acknowledged “smartest” guy in the         ence in ages between 14 and 15 became greater
group). We spoke a unique language which           that the difference in ages between 6 and 10 as
I later learned was called pocho — now called      our circle of friends in high school became our
“Spanglish”, a combination of English and          primary social group. My parents moved out of
Spanish with words not found in either language.   the neighborhood shortly after I graduated from
    Fortunately, we stayed out of trouble. From    college but I had left years before. Everyone
the age of 5 to 14, this was my world and these    in the neighborhood knew I had been accepted
were the kids with whom I grew up with. If we      to Yale.
were a gang, it was more in the nature of the         The last time I saw one of the guys from the
kids portrayed in the old television shows, such   neighborhood was just before I left for college.
as the “Little Rascals” or “Our Gang.” What        He became serious and gave me
mischief we got into never amounted to much.       a hug. We’re proud of you, man.
    We spent our summers playing baseball or       Don’t forget us.”
basketball or riding our bikes in the neighbor-       I never have. ■
hood. Cal State L. A. was a wonderful play-
ground. Whether playing basketball on nice
hardwood floors, riding our bikes through empty
parking lots or searching the ivy around the       RICHARD E . RICO   is a judge at the Clara


                                                                           Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   7
                                                          When I was in college, my parents bought a
                                                       supermarket in West Oakland, an area very similar
                                                       to South Central L.A. I worked at the market 20 to
                                                       30 hours a week and, because of the store hours,
                                                       our family rarely ate dinners together. I remember
                                                       that my father once got punched in the face by a
                                                       shoplifter who was trying to get away. There was

Justice In                                             a lot of drug selling and dealing going on outside
                                                       the store and in the neighborhood, and once a
                                                       young drug seller ran from the police into our store
                                                       and got arrested in the produce department.

A Country                                                 Although I did not experience too much discrim-
                                                       ination while growing up, there are certain incidents
                                                       that stand out in my mind. There were the neigh-


Without                                                borhood kids in Guam who circled my house one
                                                       day, shouting “Ching, chang, Chinese, go back to
                                                       where you came from”
                                                          I also remember a few of the customers at our

A Majority                                             market telling us to “Go back to China” or “Go
                                                       back to where you came from.” Then, while I was
                                                       attending UCLA Law School, there were several
                                                       young kids at a bus stop who yelled at me, “Go
                                                       back to your country!”
by Judge Tammy Chung Ryu                                  When I was an attorney, I did not suffer the
                                                       overt discrimination that some of my fellow Asian-
                                                       American women lawyers did, such as being
         y parents decided to immigrate from South     mistaken for the court reporter, interpreter or the




M
         Korea to the United States for reasons very   secretary. However, every time I went into a court-
         similar to those of other Asians — better     room, especially in the beginning of my career, I
         education and opportunities for their chil-   was acutely aware that I was the only female Asian
         dren, better living conditions and greater    American attorney in the courtroom.
         political freedom.                               Sometimes, I was the only Asian-American
   So, when I was 9, my family moved to Guam,          attorney, period.
an island territory of the United States in the           That made me feel very self-conscious, to say
Pacific Ocean. Because my father was the only          the least, and I made sure that I was thoroughly
one who knew how to speak English, he gave us          prepared for every hearing so that I wouldn’t
English lessons at home to prepare us for the first    embarrass not only myself, but all other Asian-
day of school, teaching us how to answer simple        American attorneys.
questions such as “What is your name?” and “How           Realizing that there was not enough diversity in
old are you?”                                          the legal profession, especially in the courtroom, I
   What he did not teach us, however, was how to       decided to apply to become a judge and submitted
ask to be excused to go to the bathroom. So, from      my application in January of 2002. A big part of my
my first day of school, I learned to communicate       decision also stemmed from the Los Angeles riots
through gestures and made-up words.                    of 1992, which left most local Korean-Americans
   We lived somewhat of a typical immigrant life.      feeling helpless and wanting to become more
My family owned several small businesses and all       empowered. For me, it meant getting more Korean-
of us had to pitch in. When I was in high school,      Americans on the bench. I was keenly aware that in
my parents ran a flower shop in the suburbs of the     Southern California, which has the largest popula-
San Francisco Bay Area. Every day after school, I      tion of Koreans outside of Korea, there was only
had to water hundreds of small potted plants and       one Korean-American judge.
pick the thorns from roses.                               So, in August, 2002, I became the second



8   Gavel to Gavel
                           Korean-American judge in Southern California and        my Korean name correctly.
                           the first female Korean-American judge in                  I am determined that no one feel slighted or
                           California.                                             embarrassed in my courtroom because they have a
                               I did not fully understand the impact that a        foreign or unusual-sounding name. I am also aware
                           female Asian-American judge would have until after      that immigrants, especially those who can’t speak
                           I became a judge. There was that incident with a        English well, are very hesitant to speak up and ask
                           prospective juror in Judge Rita Miller’s courtroom      questions of a judge or lawyer. Because of this, I
                           at the Metropolitan Courthouse downtown during          try to remember to ask them if they have any
                           the new judge orientation process when I came on        questions of me or the attorneys.
                           the bench. The case involved domestic violence             One thing that hasn’t changed much from my
                           and the prospective juror was a Filipina.               days as an attorney is that I am still somewhat of a
                               During a sidebar conference, she started telling    rarity in the courtroom. I know that every day, as
                           us about the history of abuse in her own family, the    victims, witnesses, defendants, attorneys and the
                                                                                                    members of the public enter my
                                                                                                    courtroom, some are surprised that
                              A big part of my decision also                                        they see someone like me on the
                                                                                                    bench.
                              stemmed from the Los Angeles                                             I can see the surprised look in
                              riots of 1992, which left most                                        some people’s faces, especially
                                                                                                    those who are Korean-American,
                              local Korean-Americans feeling                                        which is then quickly replaced by
                              helpless and wanting to become                                        a smile and an approving nod. And,
                              more empowered.                                                       because I am aware of my minority
                                                                                                    status, I am very conscious of how
                                                                                                    I appear to everyone who appears
                                                                                                    before me.
                                                                                                       Since I arrived at the Compton
                                                                                                    courthouse, I am even more
                                                                                                    conscious of my Korean-American
                                                                                                    background. Knowing that there
                                                                                                    have been tensions in the past
                                                                                                    between the African-American and
                                                                                                    Korean-American communities, I
PHOTO COURTESY LOSE IVEY




                                                                                                    feel that it is important for me to
                                                                                                    not only to be fair and courteous
                                                                                                    but also to appear that way.
                                                                                                       Recently, something happened
                                                                                                    in my courtroom that made me
                                                                                                    realize that we have made much
                           entire time looking at only me and speaking only to     progress.
                           me, not to Judge Miller, and not to the attorneys. It   I had a two-defendant preliminary hearing, and the
                           was as though she knew, or felt that she knew, that     attorneys and I were waiting for a witness to arrive
                           I would understand her. It seemed that she identi-      after the lunch recess. All of a sudden, I noticed
                           fied with me. Afterward, Judge Miller noted the         that all of the attorneys, the public
                           same observation and commented that the incident        defender, alternate public
                           demonstrated the need for diversity on the bench.       defender,
                              As a judge with an immigrant background, there       and the district attorney, were
                           are certain things I emphasize in my courtroom.         Korean- Americans, and the judge
                           First, I make sure that everyone gets his/her name      was also a
                           pronounced correctly. In my life, I have encountered    Korean-American.
                           people who refused to make an effort to pronounce          I thought to myself, “We’ve



                                                                                                     Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   9
One Sunny
July Morning
by Judge Zaven V. Sinanian


    t was a sunny July morning in 1974 on the                  Turkey was invading




I
    Mediterranean island of Cyprus when I arrived           Cyprus. The bombing
    at the bookstore where I worked during my               did not stop for days.
    summer vacation. I was 13 and did not know              The ground beneath
    then that my life was about to change forever.          us shook as if we were
      I heard gunfire and explosions, followed by           experiencing a severe
a frantic phone call from my mother. I jumped on            earthquake. We had
my bike and rode home in fear, as fast as I could.          nowhere to run. We
    My father informed me that the elected                  feared we were going
government was being overthrown by troops                   to die.
                                                                                          MY GR
loyal to the military junta that ruled Greece.                 Soon, about half of              A N D PA
                                                                                                         RENTS
    We did not know what the coup d’etat meant              the island was occupied.
to us. We were afraid of how neighboring coun-              With the Turkish military presence, my mother
tries would respond. We tried to proceed                    and father did not want to experience the deporta-
normally with our lives, but that was not possi-            tion and extermination their parents had endured
ble. One night shortly thereafter, we heard                 in the Armenian Genocide in 1915. In
explosions.                                                 September, 1974, we left Cyprus for Chicago.
                                                                            We came as refugees. I remember
                                                                         vividly that autumn morning at
                                                                         O’Hare International Airport. The
                                                                         air was different and everything
                                                                         seemed larger than life.
                                                                             The new life in Chicago was very
                                                                         difficult. My parents’ immediate
                                                                         concern was to find work. My sister
                                                                         and I had to adjust to a social environ-
                                                                         ment that perceived us as outsiders.
                                                                             At school, we were the new
                                                                         kids with strange names. I spoke
                                                                         some English, but with a British
                                                                         accent. We did not play sports, and
                                                                         had no friends. I was ridiculed and,
                                                                         often, made the target of racial and
                                                                         ethnic epithets.
GRANDFATHER ( BOTTOM ROW, SECOND FROM THE LEFT ) AND FELLOW LAW SCHOOL
GRADUATES IN ISTANBUL , CIRCA   1914




10   Gavel to Gavel
   I will never forget our first Fourth of July.   starting a family but in 1991, the sudden collapse
The fireworks that evening made us jump out of     of the Soviet Union led to the emergence of an
our beds, thinking it was gunfire. My sister and I independent Republic of Armenia after almost 70
went to school feeling sad most of the time. We    years of Soviet occupation. Armenians throughout
did not overcome the trauma of war for years.      the world dreamt of the day when the land of
   Slowly, however, I gained the respect of class- their ancestors would be free.
mates and teachers. Joining the staff of the high      I felt obligated to assist the fledgling democracy
school newspaper helped. I tried out for the       by using my expertise in law and international
soccer team, and soon became one of its best       affairs.
players. Those two events, along with the influ-       With the support of former Gov. George
ence of my Hungarian born teacher and soccer       Deukmejian, I arranged for a leave of absence to
coach, helped in my process of assimilation.       travel to Armenia to assist in building democratic
   After high school, I attended Northern Illinois institutions. My wife and I made the long journey
University and got a degree in political science.  to Armenia at our own expense. We placed all of
When I was accepted into a masters program at      our personal belongings in storage. We lived in a
American University in Washington, I saw an        Soviet-era dormitory, with limited heat, electricity
advertisement for a position at the Library of     and hot water.
Congress for a translator of Armenian, Turkish         My work focused on facilitating Armenia’s entry
and Russian. I got the job and took the bus every  into the United Nations. I also attended several
morning to Capitol Hill.                           diplomatic conferences. Despite the living condi-
   A proud moment came in 1982, when Judge         tions, it was truly fulfilling.
Julius Hoffman — of Chicago Seven fame —               When we returned to Los Angeles, I rejoined
                                                                            the Attorney General’s Office.
                                                                            We became proud parents of
The ground beneath us shook as if we                                        two wonderful children. On
                                                                            June 5, 2002, as I was preparing
were experiencing a severe earthquake.                                      to argue a case before the
We had nowhere to run. We feared                                            California Supreme Court, the
we were going to die.                                                       call came from the governor’s
                                                                            office about my appointment to
                                                                            the bench. For my parents, who
administered the oath of citizenship to our        had recently moved to Los Angeles, that day was
family. For every immigrant, this is a momentous the proudest of their lives.
occasion.                                              My life has been an incredible adventure. My
   After receiving my degree, I returned to        experiences have shaped the way I view the
Chicago and Chicago-Kent College of Law.           world. I learned early in my life that when disputes
I began to dream about life in California.         are not resolved at the negotiating table, ordinary
   There were many role models of Armenian         people suffer.
descent in the legal profession and in govern-         I am proud to be a Superior Court judge. I am
ment. I made my journey west. My parents were      grateful to this country. Whenever I speak to
concerned that they would not see me again         immigrant kids, I remind them that I came with
   My early years in California were full of       little, but with perseverance and hard work, they
challenges. I sorely missed my family. Beginning can achieve their dreams.
my legal career as a deputy attorney general,          Even though I am now a judge,
however, enabled me to develop new friendships in the final analysis, I remain the
and gain confidence in my legal abilities. I was   same person I was when I set foot
assigned to the criminal division and later trans- on this land, my new home. ■
ferred to the civil division.
   In 1990, I met a South American woman.          ZAVEN E . SINANIAN is a judge at the Burbank

Within a year, we were married. We talked about Courthouse.



                                                                         Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   11
Freedom
                                                           Century, Mao instituted policies fully aware that
                                                           the deaths of 10’s of millions of people would
                                                           result.
                                                               Lui Tze Ming, Chief Justice of the Supreme

From                                                       Court of Yunan province, necessarily fled to
                                                           Taiwan with the Nationalists in 1949. His youngest
                                                           daughter, my future wife, Scarlet was born there.


Tyranny                                                    Scarlet and I met in Los Angeles in 1976, and
                                                           married the following year.
                                                               We personified the American Dream. We
                                                           worked hard, built a law practice and raised two
                                                           children, one of whom is in her last months of law
by Judge Rolf M. Treu                                      school. The other graduated from UCLA and is
                                                           studying Chinese in Beijing.
                                                               So what does family history teach us? In my case,
    n Riga, Latvia, one day in 1919, the executioners      I consider the U.S. Constitution as the apotheosis




I
    came at dawn. Pastors Paul and Carl, brothers          of guarantees of freedom. The equality under law
    and ministers of congregations in the area, knew       of each person, required under this document and
    they were in danger. After the Russian Revolu-         by laws enacted in accordance therewith, is crucial
    tion, Bolsheviks were coming into power in
    Riga, then part of the former Russian Empire.
Community leaders were being rounded up by the              Carl became one of the first
new regime.                                               “ residents” of the gulag, and
    The pastors, part of a family that had been in
Latvia for generations, did not follow the general          died in short order of typhus
emigration of fellow ethnic Germans to Germany              in the camp.
after the revolution. Their sense of duty dictated
to them that they remain and preach against the
changing social and (il)legal order.                       to a free society.
    Both soon came to the attention of the Bolshe-              Communism and Fascism share one overriding
viks. They were arrested; Paul was stood against a         principle: The rule of law is superseded by the rule
wall and shot. Carl became one of the first “residents”    of an individual or group. Having family members
of the gulag, and died in short order of typhus in         as victims of both forms of tyranny impressed upon
the camp.                                                  me at an early age that the majesty and independ-
    The pastors’ surname was Treu. They were my            ence of the law must be preserved at all costs.
great uncle and grandfather.                                    Consequently, my courtroom has a formal
    My father, Raimund, 15 at the time, was detained       opening every morning. Thus, my belief that
and subjected to questioning overnight. He obvi-           submitting sitting judges to judicial elections, in
ously was terrified and unsure whether he would            any form, is inimical to judicial independence.
see another dawn. He was eventually released, but               Diversity in my mind is essential for America
was scarred for life.                                      to be the great country she is. We are a nation
    Fast forward to Stalingrad, 1943. Raimund’s            founded by those escaping persecution. While we
brother, my uncle Ditmar, was serving in Field             have done some persecution ourselves, we recognize
Marshal Friedrich von Paulus’ sixth Army as an             it, battle it, and constantly strive for
interpreter. He was captured by the Russians, put          improvement.
in a POW camp and died of starvation. I lost other              Generations of immigrants have
family members to Hitler’s megalomania.                    been lured by the assurance of
    I was born in Germany in 1948. In 1949, on the         opportunity and freedom. Diversity
other side of the world, Mao Tse Tung declared             has made us great, and will continue
the formation of the People’s Republic of China.           to be a boon to our future. ■
One of the three notable tyrants of the 20th
                                                           ROLF M . TREU   is a judge at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.


12   Gavel to Gavel
FROM THE TREU FAMILY ALBUM (CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT ): GRANDFATHER CARL DITMAR TREU, GRANDMOTHER GERTRUD THEOPILE TREU,
UNCLE PAUL FROMHOLD TREU AND GREAT GRANDFATHER DITMAR FROMHOLD TREU.




                                                                                   Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   13
                                                                          never envisioned that I would become a Superior
                                                                          Court judge because I thought my openness about
                                                                          my sexual orientation would preclude such a lofty
                                                                          goal. This was confirmed by the fact that there were
                                                                          no lesbian judges that I knew of in the late 1970s.
                                                                             I started my own practice right out of law school.
                                                                          I built my reputation in juvenile law, was hired as a

   Tikkun                                                                 Superior Court referee in the juvenile court, and
                                                                          then became a Superior Court commissioner. After
                                                                          seven years on the bench, I was elected a Superior


   Olam                                                                   Court judge in 2004.


                                                                            The fact that I was an “out”
    by Judge Donna Groman                                                        lesbian apparently did not
                                                                          interfere with my efforts
                                                                                    to be elected to an
                  y life experiences have profoundly influ-                   open judicial seat


   M
                  enced who I am. I was born in Brooklyn,
                  N.Y., in 1955, the year Rosa Parks kindled
                  the civil rights movement.                                 The fact that I was an “out” lesbian apparently
                      I was fortunate to grow up amidst great             did not interfere with my efforts to be elected to
                  ethnic and racial diversity in the housing              an open judicial seat — I received more than
    project in which I lived and in the public schools I                  1,200,000 votes.
    attended. I became protective of my friends when                         My lifetime involvement in sports has proved
                              I saw them the object of unfair treat-      a source of strength and is a major factor in my life.
                               ment. When racial tensions exploded        In high school and college, I played on varsity
                               on my high school campus in 1970,          basketball, volleyball, and softball teams. I refused
                                 I joined in the efforts to improve
                                 race relations.
                                     As a child growing up in the
                                   1960s and 70s, I was strongly influ-
                                   enced by the civil rights, feminist,
                                    anti-war, and gay rights move-
                                    ments. The Reverend Dr. Martin
                                     Luther King, Jr.’s insistence on
                                    the dignified treatment of each
                          T R A IT
             6 0’ S P O R           human being, regardless of classi-
A N E A R LY
                fication, moved me deeply. The era's fight
    for human rights for all people inspired me to
    become a lawyer representing those who were
    unable to advocate for themselves.
          In college, I encountered the lesbian community,
    where I found friends/companions who admired me
    for who I was. I was not asked to give up my love
    of sports to be suitable for my partner. I could assert
    myself in relationships without having to worry
    about whether I was crossing some invisible gender
    boundary. I was free to be me.
          When I graduated from law school in 1979, I                     WITH MY PARTNER OF   15   YEARS , CECILIA   ( RIGHT )




   14    Gavel to Gavel
                                                             I enjoy the part of judging where
                                                             I can be a “coach” on the bench




to give up my love for sports when I was a girl even    of Children and Family Services and I represented
though girls’ sports were frowned upon in that era.     parents and children in the juvenile dependency
I thrived as an athlete despite the fact that female    court. Presently, Cecilia is a treatment manager at a
sports programs and their athletes lacked funding,      mental health clinic after having spent a number of
adequate playing fields, decent practice times and      years in the catering business.
attention from the schools for which we played.            We are regular synagogue-goers and strongly
Through sports I developed tenacity, leadership         embrace the Jewish concept of “Tikkun Olam,”
skills, self-discipline, self-confidence, friendships   which means “repair of the world.” My position as
with teammates of different backgrounds, and the        a Superior Court judge fits well with this concept.
ability to work as part of a team.                      Among other aspects, I enjoy the part of judging
   My love of sports continues through this day,        where I can be a “coach” on the bench, encourag-
morphing from varsity college athlete to All-           ing people to do their best and be their best,
American rugby player on the UCLA club team in          regardless of the impediments they may face.
the 80’s, to triathloning in San Luis Obispo, ocean        As a judge and as a person, I advocate openness,
kayaking on the Sea of Cortez, backpacking in           honesty and courage as the means to achieve success
the Trinity Alps, scuba diving in Palau and biking      in this society where prejudice and intolerance still
in the California AIDS Ride from San Francisco          prevent us from being a nation of justice and
to Los Angeles. I still work out five days a week,      equality for all. Unfamiliarity breeds
a routine I started shortly after moving to Los         fear and hate. The best way to
Angeles in 1979.                                        promote tolerance is to learn about
   Now, 26 years out of law school and middle-          each other and to work side by side
aged, I feel pretty mainstream. My partner, Cecilia,    in advancing our common goals. ■
and I have been together for 13 years, and raised
my nephew for seven of those years. I met Cecilia       DONNA GROMAN   is a judge at the Airport
while she was a social worker for the Department        Courthouse.



                                                                            Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   15
A Flight From Saigon
To America
by Judge Jacqueline Nguyen


    was born in Dalat, a famous resort town north-           the city were blocked and mined with explosives.



I   east of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), the
    capital of the former Republic of South
    Vietnam. My father was a major in the South
    Vietnamese Army.
   In the mid-1970s, he did not directly command
troops, but was instead assigned to work with his
American counterparts on special intelligence
                                                             Commercial flights were virtually grounded.
                                                                 The streets were in chaos, with civilians fleeing
                                                             to neighboring cities further south. Although my
                                                             parents felt compelled not to abandon their posts,
                                                             they were so afraid that my siblings (ages 4 to 10)
                                                             and I would be killed by the bombings or cross-
                                                             fire that they made the wrenching decision to send
matters. My mother worked in accounting at                   us alone to Saigon, accompanied only by a friend
                     City Hall.                              who had family there.
                         We lived comfortably, with              On the day we left, my mother dressed us each
                      a housekeeper, a cook and a            in three layers of clothes since we could not take
                      driver. Despite the ongoing            any personal possessions. My father’s driver took
                       civil war, it was an idyllic life,    us to the military airport and tossed us, one by
                        surrounded by a huge extended        one, over a side fence to avoid the crush of people
                         family.                             inside fighting for space on the evacuation plane.
                             All that ended in April 1975,       My father’s colleague caught us on the other
                          when I was 9. South Vietnam        side of the fence and ran us to the plane readying
                           fell to Communist forces. The     for takeoff. It was suffocating inside, and people
                            cities adjacent to Dalat fell    were piled on top of one another on the floorboard.
          D M OT
                 HER        rapidly, and the roads out of    My younger sister, then 8, still remembers how
     GRAN




16   Gavel to Gavel
painfully her legs were crushed during the                  the heavily guarded airport, only military planes
entire journey.                                             were allowed to depart, and the U.S. military was
   For days in Saigon, we lived with the horrible           evacuating its own personnel and U.S. civilians.
fear that my parents would be trapped in Dalat and             Despite the certain prospect of execution if my
never come for us. Eventually my mother made her            father were captured, his American contacts could
way to Saigon, but my father had a harder time.             not give our whole family passage out of Vietnam.
After the order to abandon Dalat, my father retreated       They offered to take him out alone, leaving us all
to Nha Trang, a nearby coastal city.
By the time he got there, pockets of
resistance dangerously blocked the                 We rushed the runway one night
main road between Nha Trang and                               and were airlifted out of Saigon
Saigon.
   Boat departures were also difficult
                                                       on a C-130 transport plane.
because of intense gunfights near the
                                                            behind. My father declined.
                                                                Then, through sheer miraculous luck, my
                                                            parents connected with a friend who is married
                                                            to an American civilian. This American civilian
                                                            eventually saved my family by declaring us to be a
                                                            part of his family, which got us inside the secured
                                                            airport. We rushed the runway one night and were
                                                            airlifted out of Saigon on a C-130 transport plane.
                                                            Unlike so many families who were separated during
                                                            the chaos, our family was intact, but we left every-
                                                            thing else behind.
                                                                We stayed first in an Army base in the Philip-
                                                            pines, then Guam. Eventually, we were taken to
                                                            Camp Pendleton in San Diego County. We lived
                                                            there in a refugee camp for over a month, sharing a
                                                            tent with two other families. Thus my parents,
                                                            with $5 in their pockets and six young children,
                                                            began a new life in America.
                                                                Having lived the American dream, progressing
                                                            from menial laborers to small business owners,
                                                            my parents believed that anything is possible in
                                                            America. Yet, even they could not predict that
                                                            one day, I would be appointed to be the first
                                                            Vietnamese-American woman judge in the State
FROM RIGHT: FAMILY FRIEND MR . EDWARD BRADY, MY PARENTS ,
HOA PHAM NGUYEN AND BINH NGUYEN , MRS . BRADY, MY BROTHER
                                                            of California.
CHIEU AND ME AT ABOUT FOUR YEARS OLD. PHOTO TAKEN AT            To be honest, I was terrified of the tremendous
TAN SON NHAT AIRPORT IN SAIGON .                            responsibility of being a role model for so many.
                                                            But throughout my career in private practice and
beach. Fortunately, my father was with a colleague          at the U.S. Attorney’s Office before taking the
who was related to a fisherman there. In the                bench, I was lucky to meet many awe-inspiring,
middle of the night, the fisherman snuck them out           groundbreaking women to whom
of Nha Trang hidden on his boat.                            I looked for guidance, and I feel
    By the time my father found us in Saigon the            very privileged to play the same
city was under siege. Especially after South                role, no matter how small, for
Vietnam’s president resigned, everyone was in               others now. ■
panic, desperately trying to leave the country or
store up supplies for the difficult days ahead. At          JACQUELINE NGUYEN is a judge at the
                                                            Alhambra Courthouse.


                                                                                Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   17
Remembering
Bataan Day
by Judge Rafael Ongkeko


         y birthday, which sneaks up too quickly           Growing up as officer’s kids, we would some-




M
         nowadays, happens to be a national holiday    times ride in American surplus canvas-covered
         in the Philippines.                           Willys Jeeps with those little windshield wipers
            A solemn occasion, it is Bataan Day,       that were pitifully inadequate in a tropical storm.
         Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor),            We felt quite safe in Manila, and it was. Life was
         commemorating the surrender in April,         stable, but it would soon change when we left to
1942, of 75,000 soldiers (Filipinos outnumbered        seek a new life in the United States.
their American comrades five-to-one) to the                With two younger sisters, ours was a small family
Japanese army after months of fierce fighting.         by Filipino standards back in 1965, when we came
   My grandfather and namesake, Rafael Ongkeko,        to the U.S. With our heads firmly on our shoulders,
who sired more than a dozen offspring, admonished      we had little need for the stuff we left behind,
his eldest child and army conscript, 21-year old       making it easier to pack my mother and the three
Martin Ongkeko,                                                                            of us on a KLM
“Don’t be a                                                                                Royal Dutch
deserter.” A                                                                               Airlines plane
legendary family        His early career saw him fight                                     bound for Los
hero now, Martin             fellow Filipinos, Huks, who made                              Angeles that
survived the                                                                               summer.
fighting and the      the mistake of calling themselves                                       My father
infamous Bataan           Communists in the early 1950s                                    stayed behind for
Death March,                                                                               a year, but cut his
later adjudged                                                                             own career short
a war crime.                                           just as a nascent dictator named Ferdinand Marcos
   Sadly, Martin never did return to his southern      took power. Had he stayed, my father would have
Luzon town, succumbing in a Tarlac prison camp.        seen his military contemporaries exercise virtually
My mother’s family, on the other hand, came from       absolute power during martial law, accumulating
the northern end of Luzon, referred to locally as      power and wealth far beyond their modest salaries.
Ilocano. Her family of four girls and one boy          I would not return for another 10 years.
managed to survive a brutal occupation in the cooler       “America,” and all the promise that magical
mountain air of Baguio City to the north, but no       word connoted, just proved too alluring for my
one talks about it much.                               parents, both smart, tough people. A one-way ticket
   My parents were to meet a decade later during       to L.A. with no home or job?
my father’s years in the Philippine Military               No problem — go to school; get a job, get three
Academy. His early career saw him fight fellow         or four, as my mother did. Whatever you do, you’d
Filipinos, Huks, who made the mistake of calling       still make more here than “back home.”
themselves Communists in the early 1950s; he also          And besides, your English is really good!
went to Korea as part of a United Nations mult-            Water in the Philippines was not always so
inational force.                                       freely available, so I marveled at the open-mouthed



18   Gavel to Gavel
                                       lion drinking fountain in Centinela




                                                                                                                                                                        PHOTO COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
                                       Park. The “Jesus Saves” sign near
                                       our apartment off Centinela
                                       Avenue served as a reminder that
                                       this country tolerates more than just
                                       one or two religions. But what I
                                       remember most about the first few
                                       months were the kind hearts of
                                       plain folks who helped us get
                                       started.
                                          A scrawny kid of 12, I remem-
                                       ber watching the smoke from the
                                       Watts riots in August of 1965, the
                                       day we moved from my uncle’s
                                       Paramount home to Inglewood. My
                                       uncle pointed out the rising smoke
                                       and said, confidently, “I’ll get you
                                       there.”
                                          That was my first lesson in            PRISONERS OF WAR REST DURING THE BATAAN MARCH .
                                       surviving L.A.: master the surface
                                       streets just in case. Four years later, yes, on Bataan     here.
                                       Day, I would leave the Montebello DMV with a                  I don’t have to look far beyond my courtroom in
                                       driver’s license, freeing me from RTD Line 26, one         formerly all-white Alhambra to see that Ellis Island
                                                                                                                      West (aka the Costco food line) is
                                                                                                                      alive and well in the numbers of
PHOTO COURTESY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE




                                                                                                                      immigrants from Asia, Latin
                                                                                                                      America, and Eastern Europe,
                                                                                                                      chowing down on basic American
                                                                                                                      food
                                                                                                                      like churros, pizzas, and a Polish
                                                                                                                      dog, plus drinks, for less than
                                                                                                                      two bucks.
                                                                                                                          In the middle of a recent trial
                                                                                                                       it struck me that the DA, the JA,
                                                                                                                      and Juror #10 were also Filipino-
                                                                                                                      Americans. Like many Americans
                                                                                                                      or future Americans born with
                                                                                                                      strange names in strange sounding
                                                                                                                      places, I and, now, my own
                                                                                                                      family, still have the same hopes
                                                                                                                      and dreams my parents had.
                                                                                                                          With thanks this time to those
                                       VICTIMS OF BATAAN .                                                            with the power to have made it
                                                                                                  possible, and plain old luck, I am
                                       of three buses in a long commute to Loyola High.           both proud and challenged to work
                                          The immigrant experience is part of who I am.           in a free society committed to the
                                       Like my uncles Frank and Joe Sipin, farmworkers in         rule of law and the ideal
                                       the lettuce and cauliflower fields in Watsonville,         of justice, wearing a robe in a room
                                       and my Uncle Duard and Tita Doris, who worked              that my uncle Martin never saw,
                                       two jobs to keep their family going, I’ll always have      but helped ensure decades earlier
                                       a good sense of where I came from, and how I got           with his sacrifice from thousands
                                                                                                  of miles away. ■

                                                                                                                    Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   19
Born In Amerrikka
by Judge Soussan Bruguera


        y the time I was born in Tehran, Iran, in




B
                                                               There have been many times when I have
        May of 1956, my parents had applied and             warned counsel to let their clients know that I
        waited for years for the privilege of entering      understand Russian, Armenian and Farsi in case
        the United States as permanent residents.           they thought their conversations about me were
         How does one describe to a person on               private.
        whom God has bestowed the precious gift                Like the Coneheads on “Saturday Night Live,”
of being born in the United States the value of             who responded “France” when asked where they
being allowed to come here?                                 were from, throughout my childhood, I responded
    Well, it’s like being allowed to come to a place        “New Jersey.”
where you can raise your children in a two-bedroom             Each time Iran was in the news, I feared and
apartment with the family’s sole income being               desperately avoided any conversation about my
that of a mechanic and having your daughter grow            background. I was attending Loyola Law School
up to receive the honor and privilege of sitting as         when the hostages were taken in November, 1979.
a judge on the Los
Angeles Superior Court.
    I was 8 when my
family was finally             I have about a dozen old judges’ robes
given the gift of immi-        I make the kids who visit my courtroom wear,
gration as permanent
residents and my parents       so they can see themselves as judges
have not stopped
saying, “Gud Bless
Amerrikka” since.
    One day recently,
a young attorney
remarked in my court-
room that it was the
first time she had
appeared in a case
where the judge and
all counsel were born
in Iran. Of course
after 17 years on the
bench, it was not my
first time, but I shared
her joy and gratitude
to this country.
                            JUDGE BRUGUERA ( LOWER RIGHT CORNER ) IS PICTURED ALONG WITH VISITING STUDENTS .




20   Gavel to Gavel
                                                         to the United States. It took them about 17 years
                                                         of applying and waiting, but with thanksgiving and
                                                         joy, my mother, father, younger brother and I were
                                                         granted the privilege of coming here in 1965.
                                                             Throughout my childhood, I met many people
                                                         who came from other countries, with wealth and
                                                         privilege. Many have come here from Iran having
                                                         been in the Shah’s government and having lived
                                                         rich lives before the overthrow.
                                                             Mine was not such a family. I believe we came
                                                         here with the minimum required by the U.S.
                                                         Government. My father worked very hard until
                                                         his retirement, and I grew up in an apartment on
JUDGE SOUS SAN BRUGUERA                                  Hayworth Boulevard, near Fairfax in Los Angeles
                                                         where my parents slept in the living room so
A classmate told me to go back where I came from.        that my brother and I could have our own rooms.
But it’s not such a big deal and people have lived       Yet, my parents constantly reminded us how
through much worse.                                      fortunate we were to live in the United States.
    My mother’s father was the sole survivor of          They reminded us not to waste the privilege of
his family in the Armenian Genocide. He was a            life in “Amerrikka.”
teenager when he was sent to a nearby town to                I have about a dozen old judges’ robes I make
trade goods. He came back to find his parents            the kids who visit my courtroom wear, so they can
and all of his brothers and sisters dead. His home       see themselves as judges, because I tell them that,
was burned, his extended family killed. It’s hard        if it could happen to me, it certainly could happen
to imagine.
    He also survived three
years in a Siberian prison.
When really pressed, my              Like the Coneheads on “Saturday Night Live,”
mother tells the story of having
to leave Russia as a child on              who responded “France” when asked where
a train in the night and having    they were from, throughout my childhood
to remember the fake name                      I responded “New Jersey.”
on the documents her father
had purchased for his family to
enable them to flee to Iran.
    My grandfather managed to get his young family       to them.
out of Russia and to Iran, but he would not be able          My daughters have been blessed with American
to join his family until he had spent years in custody   citizenship by birth. In addition to my immigrant
in Siberia. Why? The Communists, my mother               background, they also have through my husband,
says. And her next words, God Bless America. I           Paul Bruguera, a grandfather born in Spain and
concur.                                                  a grandmother born in Finland. But as my mother
    My grandfather eventually met his wife and           says often, “Susie, don’t be big
raised three daughters in the part of Tehran domi-       shot, listen to
nated by Russian and Armenian refugees. My father        your mother and thank God every
met my mother in the bakery my grandfather had           day that your children were born
opened and turned into a neighborhood meeting             in ‘Amerrikka.’” ■
place. My father was living in Iran as the son of a
Russian military advisor to the Persian government.
    My father tells us that, from the moment he met
my mother as a young woman, she spoke of moving
                                                         SOUSSAN BRUGUERA   is a judge at the



                                                                             Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   21
 The Compton Kid
 by Judge Kelvin D. Filer


     was born, raised and educated in Compton,                            While at UCSC, I was a member of the Black




“I
     California!”                                                     Student Alliance for four years and played on the
        Whenever I am asked to speak at local career                  UCSC Basketball Club for three years. I subse-
     days, graduations, or as a visitor to a local school,            quently received my juris doctor from UC Berkeley
     I always use this as my opening statement. I                     (Boalt Hall) in 1980.
     emphasize that I am from Compton because,                            After passing the California Bar in 1980, I
 historically, we tend to hear only negative things                   worked for two years as a deputy state public
 about the city.                                                      defender. In this capacity, I researched and wrote
    I use this introduction with pride, but humbly.                   appellate briefs and handled oral arguments for
 For my message is not one of “look at me”— rather                    indigent defendants.
 to tell the students and young people in Compton                                        It was during this period that I argued
 that if I made it, so can you!                                                      and won a landmark case before the
    I am honored to serve as a                                                        California Supreme Court in 1980. The
 Los Angeles Superior                                                                  case was People v. Taylor (1982) 31 Cal.
 Court judge and                                                                        3d 488 — a unanimous decision
 absolutely love sitting                                                                holding that criminal defendants have
 in the Compton Court-                                                                   a right to wear civilian clothing—“the
 house of the South Central                                                               garb of innocence” during their trials.
 District. I am truly living                                                               In 1982, I fulfilled my lifelong dream
 out my dream as I can recall                                                               by opening up my own private law
 being in the third grade                                                                   practice in my hometown of
 when I decided to be a                                                                      Compton, California, and main-
 lawyer. I was introduced to                                                       EF T      tained a general criminal/ civil prac-
                                                                             THE L
 the profession at that early                                           E ON         tice with an emphasis on criminal
                                                                 IT H M
                                                          A IT W
                                                    PORTR
 age by my mother and father,             F A M ILY                   defense work.
 who were both very active in                                              It was also about this time that I felt the need
 the civil rights movement.                                           to become more involved in community affairs. I
    My father, Maxcy Filer, served as the president                   was elected in 1981 as a member of the board of
 of the local NAACP. I would often sit in on their                    trustees for the Compton Unified School District
 meetings about tactics, boycotts, demonstrations,                    and served for three terms.
 etc. A constant reference was made in those meetings                     I became a life member of the NAACP and have
 to “our lawyer” or “the attorney,” which piqued my                   been a member of the board of directors for the
 curiosity as to “this person” to whom everyone was                   Compton Chamber of Commerce since 1984. I
 showing respect. I decided that I wanted that admi-                  remain very active in the only I church I have
 ration and authority and, with suggestive nudging                    known, First United Methodist Church in Compton.
 from my dad, (who himself was in law school at the                       My career as a bench officer began as a
 time) I set out to become a lawyer.                                  Compton Municipal Court commissioner in 1993.
    After graduating from Compton High School in                      Later, I served as a Superior Court commissioner
 1973, I went to the University of California at Santa                after unification of the courts in 2000.
 Cruz. I majored in politics, receiving a bachelor of                     I feel fortunate to have remained assigned to
 arts degree in 1977 while graduating with “college                   Compton and I presided as a commissioner over a
 honors” (the top 30 students at Stevenson College).                  variety of assignments from traffic court, felony


 22   Gavel to Gavel
preliminary hearings, felony arraignments, misde-        immediately recognize the defendant’s name or
meanor trials, felony trials and limited civil litiga-   face as someone that I grew up with. Invariably, I
tion. On Aug. 8, 2002, Governor Gray Davis               encounter people who know me through family
appointed me as a judge of the Superior Cour             members or from my service on the Compton
in Los Angeles. I, of course, asked that my              School Board.
assignment remain in Compton.                               These situations usually result in my recusal
    I love the proximity to the courthouse. I know       from hearing that particular case. It is also interesting
and respect that judges cannot get involved in local     when prospective jurors during voir dire will inform
politics. However, I do everything I can to remain       us all that they have “known me since I was a little
informed about community events and to be active         boy”— sometimes even calling me by my nickname
in a civic fashion.                                      “Scooter.” This has actually happened.
    I can walk over to Compton High School to               I am currently assigned to a long cause felony
speak to students. I can walk over
to the Compton Chamber of
Commerce. I can walk next door
to City Hall or to the County
                                                                                  “...with suggestive
Public Library to conduct a                                                       nudging from my dad,
swearing-in ceremony for the                                                      (who himself was
local “Block Clubs.” Plus, I can
literally walk over to my parents’                                                in law school at the
house for lunch any day of the                                                    time) I set out to
week.                                                                             become a lawyer.”
    The camaraderie of the bench
officers, staff, employees, deputy
district attorneys, public defend-
ers, alternate public defenders,
sheriff’s department who work in




                                                         CONGRATULATIONS FROM MY FATHER , ATTORNEY MAXCY D . FILER



                                                         trial court. This is a very rewarding assignment and
                                                         gives me the opportunity to interact with the
                                                         community via the jury voir dire process and to
                                                         litigate interesting issues in important cases.
                                                             As you can tell, I truly love being a judge and
                                                         sitting in Compton. Still, I try to keep busy with
                                                         other aspects of my life. I have two beautiful
GRADUATION DAY FROM UC BERKELEY IN   1980
                                                         daughters — Brynne (a college student) and Kree
                                                         (a high school student).
the Compton Courthouse is truly amazing. I think             I am a die-hard Lakers fan who enjoys music,
we all recognize and respect our various roles, yet      movies and playing basketball. I regularly write
maintain a common commitment to get the work             poetry and I also hold a patent for
done. Also, the bench officers get together infor-       my invention —“Filers Flavored
mally once a week to exchange news, discuss new          Filters”— which are specially
laws and/or procedures at our regular brown-bag          flavored coffee filters that will
lunches.                                                 produce gourmet/ flavored coffee
   Presiding in a court located in my hometown can       from brewing regular ground coffee.
be a little interesting, e.g. when I call a case and         Most importantly, I was born,
                                                         raised and educated in Compton! ■

                                                                           Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   23
                                                        Southern California School of Law. I then decided
                                                        that I might as well finish law school and, thus,
                                                        gave up a career in the foreign service.
                                                           I am very proud to be the representative of
                                                        the American-Lebanese community on the bench.
                                                        The American-Lebanese community is a vibrant
                                                        and multi-dimensional participant in the Southern
                                                        California societal, economic, and political life. As
                                                        with other immigrant communities, the Lebanese
                                                        came here for economic advantage and to forge a


Diversity                                               better future and a better life for themselves and
                                                        their children.
                                                           The Mediterranean climate of Los Angeles,
                                                        being very similar to that of Lebanon, was an
                                                        added attraction. Hollywood also made Los
by Judge James Kaddo                                    Angeles an attractive and magical destination to
                                                        many.
                                                           The earliest immigration occurred at the begin-
       udge Victor Chavez doesn’t call me that          ning of the 20th century, and it consisted mainly of




J
       often. When he does, it is usually about         shopkeepers, grocers, and goods peddlers. The
       tennis and about common friends associated       second wave followed World War II when Southern
       with the game at the park where we usually
       play.
          This time it was different. He asked me
if I would write an article about “diversity” for
Gavel to Gavel. Without more guidance or speci-
ficity, I gladly agreed.
    So I don’t bore you with personal details, this
article will be less biographical and more historical
and, hopefully, reflective. Let me introduce you to
my background and to the American-Lebanese
Community of Southern California.
    I am an American of Lebanese origin. Not only
of Lebanese origin, but Lebanese by birth. As
far as historical records can detect, I am the first
American judge who was born in Lebanon—
a distinction of which I am very proud.
    Becoming a lawyer and, eventually, a judge was
almost an accident in my life. After undergraduate
studies at University of California at Berkeley, I
was drafted into the U. S. Army and served for two
years. Upon completion of my Army service, I
intended to go into the State Department or the
Foreign Service, hopefully, to serve at an
American embassy in the Middle East.
    Unfortunately, the background check, which
was mandatory —both in the United States and
Lebanon— took longer than expected and by the
time I received clearance, I had almost finished
one whole year of study at the University of
                                                        SHOWING - OFF PHOTOS OF HIS GRANDCHILDREN




24   Gavel to Gavel
                                                                                      scientists, engineers,
                                                                                      builders, architects,
                                                                                      jewelers, craftsmen,
                                                                                      lawyers, politicians, and
                                                                                      at least one judge.
                                                                                          As I look around, it
                                                                                      is gratifying to see that
                                                                                      my colleagues likewise
                                                                                      reflect the ethnic and
                                                                                      cultural fabric of our
                                                                                      rich Southern California
                                                                                      society. I don’t know
                                                                                      if this was by design or
                                                                                      accident, but we are
                                                                                      truly reflective and
                                                                                      representative of our
                                                                                      diverse communities.
                                                                                          Since becoming a
                                                                                      judge, I have made a


California mushroomed as an economic and financial        Casey Kasem, Jamie Farr,
center. More recently, the numbers of Lebanese
immigrants grew substantially, spurred by the tragic
                                                                Tony Shalhoub and so many
Lebanese Civil War.                                    others are still distinguishing
   Among the earliest families that settled in the         themselves in the movie business.
Los Angeles area was the Baida family. One of
their progeny was Judge Hector Baida, who
presided in the Santa Monica Municipal Court.          conscious effort to be accessible to members
   Michael Ansara—though he was always cast as         of my community and
an American Indian—was actually Lebanese.              to participate with my family at church and other
The immortal Danny Thomas left Toledo, Ohio,           community functions. I have gladly accepted
for the glamour of Tinseltown and became a giant       requests to be a keynote speaker at graduation
in the entertainment business.                         functions, to host and emcee several community
   Casey Kasem, Jamie Farr, Tony Shalhoub and          functions and generally to mix and be available to
so many others are still distinguishing themselves     address whatever community concerns may be on
in the movie business.                                 their minds.
   The biggest automobile dealerships in America,         I have found that there is no greater pleasure
owned by the late Nick Shammas, were Felix             than to be recognized and respected by your own
Chevrolet and Downtown L.A. Motors.                    people. If, because of my involvement in the
   Naseeb Saliba, of Tutor-Saliba Construction, is     community, I have helped to inspire young
among the giant public contractors in the State of     students to want to become lawyers or to further
California.                                            their educations, then I feel a great
   There are so many others that were pioneers         sense of accomplishment.
and are far too numerous to mention. The present          My life, and that of the
American-Lebanese community in Los Angeles has         members of my community, are
become multi-dimensional. Today, we are                the attainment and realization
renowned doctors in every field of medicine,           of the American Dream, a dream
professors, teachers, captains of industry, bankers,   made possible because we were
                                                       given the opportunity to work, to
                                                       excel and to prosper. Thank you,



                                                                       Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   25
                                                          community. They had to establish their own busi-
                                                          ness to make a living. Father established a business
                                                          as a wholesale produce merchant in the City


Seeking                                                   Market District of Los Angeles near Ninth and
                                                          San Pedro Streets.
                                                              He worked long hours to provide the family
                                                          with a comfortable lifestyle. When he accumulated

Gold                                                      sufficient savings in the mid-1930’s, he moved the
                                                          family back to China. The family returned after
                                                          a few years because my parents found the living


Mountain                                                  conditions in America preferable.
                                                              It didn’t take them long to realize that they had
                                                          become so accustomed to hot and cold running
                                                          water, refrigeration and indoor plumbing. I was
                                                          born in Los Angeles just before World War II.
by Justice Elwood Lui, Retired                                During the war years, the family moved to a home
                                                          on Fourth Avenue, between Pico and Olympic.
                                                          We were “pioneers” moving farther west from the
        y father came to America seeking a better         Downtown area than most Chinese families had




M
        life. In China there were stories of the          ventured. I was happy growing up on this street
        incredible wealth that existed in “Gold           with its friendly neighbors.
        Mountain,” the name that the Chinese                  One neighbor, Mary Waters, became a Los
        gave America.                                     Angeles Municipal Court judge and was the
           Many Chinese immigrants dreamed of             presiding judge when I served on that court. The
accumulating enough wealth so they could return to        first Chinese-American lawyer admitted to practice
China and live comfortably for the rest of their lives.   in the continental United States, Y.C. Hong, lived
   On his first trip to America in the 1920s, my          a few blocks away. Mr. Hong had represented my
father worked in the gold mines of Northern               mother in her immigration proceedings.
California and then as a house boy for Baptist                As a boy, my mother warned me that there were
missionaries in Los Angeles. He returned to China         “limits” as to what I could do because I was Chinese.
after the death of his first wife and eventually had      I was puzzled and did not understand fully why
an arranged marriage with my mother.                      being Chinese was a problem. I thought we were
   My parents immigrated to Los Angeles in 1928           all equal! Her attitude was rooted in her own expe-
shortly after their wedding. In those days, Chinese       riences of racial prejudice. She was merely trying
could not find real employment outside of their           to teach me about the realities of life. Her words
                                                                             actually inspired me to achieve,
                                                                             take advantage of opportunities
                                                                             and to reject any limits.
                                                                                My siblings and I attended
                                                                             Los Angeles High School. It was
                                                                             an extraordinary school — racially
                                                                             diverse — where students excelled
                                                                             in academics and athletics. I met
                                                                             others who became life-long
                                                                             friends. United States District
                                                                             Judge Dickran Tevrizian was in
                                                                             my class and we later served
                                                                             together on the Los Angeles
                                                                             Municipal and Superior Courts.
                                                                             Justice Kathryn Doi Todd was a
                                                                             year behind our class.
MY FATHER IN THE CIT Y MARKET DISTRICT, CIRCA   1930



26   Gavel to Gavel
    After graduating from UCLA, I became a CPA                 year, I was elevated to the Court of Appeal and
with the accounting firm that is now Deloitte and              became the first Chinese-American appellate
Touche. At that time, the most sought after jobs               judge in the history of the State.
were with the “Big Eight” accounting firms that                    In 1987, I retired from the Court of Appeal to
dominated the accounting profession. Even with                 join Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, a law firm with a
good grades and passing the CPA exam, non-white                100-year history and 600 lawyers. Jones Day has
students found it difficult to obtain employment               since grown to include nearly 2,300 lawyers. I
with Big Eight firms. It took some aggressive                  became the firm’s first Asian partner and have had
lobbying efforts by my accounting professor, Andy              the opportunity to represent major corporate and
Mosich, for me to receive a few offers.                        public entities. Today young Asian students are
    I had a similar experience when I was graduating           not only welcomed but aggressively recruited by
from UCLA Law School. I was the only Asian                     business and professional firms.
student in my class. While I did receive a few                     There are many more lawyers and judges who
offers                                                         are of Asian descent than there were when I
from smaller firms, the larger law firms were not              started my legal career. My son, Brad, is a partner
interested. I decided to accept                                with Morrison & Foerster and lives and works in
an offer from the California                                                         Washington. My son, Chris, is
Attorney General’s Office                                                                  an assistant United States
which paid its new                                                                         attorney who practiced with
graduates while they studied                                                              O’Melveny & Meyers. My
for the Bar. After practicing                                                             wife, Crystal, serves
for five and a half years, I                                                             on the Commission on
was fortunate to be offered                                                              Judicial Performance.
an appointment to the                                                                       Jones Day has given me
Los Angeles Municipal                                                                   the opportunity to develop
Court by Gov. Jerry Brown.                                                              a significant practice and
    I was 34 and given a rare                                                          honored me by asking me to
opportunity for someone of                                                             serve on the firm’s senior
my age. There were only a                                                             management committee and
handful of Asian lawyers in                                                           as the partner in charge of
the city and we all knew                      FA M ILY
                                                                                     the San Francisco office. My
                                                       PORTRA
each other. I was only the                                    IT                     parents would be pleased by the
fourth Chinese-American to serve as a                                               success of their children and
judge in this state. Delbert Wong was the first (and                           grandchildren and the rapid progress
also the first in the country, excluding Hawaii),              of Chinese-Americans.
followed by two others in San Francisco, Sammy                     My parents have been gone a long time but I
Yee and Harry Low.                                             still miss and honor them for all that they did for
    Asian bar associations in California had not yet           me, my family and others. I cannot fully compre-
been established. Albert Lum, a prominent                      hend how difficult it must have been for them to
Chinese-American lawyer, proposed the formation                immigrate to America based on a hope and prayer
of a bar association that became the Southern                  of a better life.
California Chinese Lawyers Association. The                        They came with virtually nothing more than
number of association members was insufficient to              the clothes on their backs and succeeded. That is
qualify for “affiliate” status by the Los Angeles              what my parents and countless
County Bar Association and the Conference of                   other immigrant parents did for
Delegates to the State Bar. My judicial colleagues,            themselves, their families and
Arthur Gilbert and Loren Miller, joined the associa-           their future generations. We are all
tion which helped it to eventually achieve the size            better off because of their courage
necessary for that status.                                     and vision. ■
    In 1980, Gov. Brown elevated me to the Superior
Court and I was sworn in by Judge Wong. The next               ELWOOD LUI served on the Los Angeles
                                                              Municipal and Superior Courts and retired


                                                                                 Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   27
Family Reflections
by Judge Sanjay Kumar


         hen I was first asked to write an article for   nicated to me in subtle and not so subtle messages,




W
         this magazine addressing my cultural and        often caused me to reflect on my actions in order to
         social history, I reflected not only on my      do right. I attribute whatever motivation I have to
         parent’s ethnicities and childhood experi-      seek excellence to both my father’s and mother’s
         ences, but also on their exposure to the        drive for excellence which was, in part, fueled by
         governmental structures of their countries.     their cultural upbringing.
   When I was growing up in Chicago, my parents’            While I see myself as “American” in every sense
pride in their English and Indian heritage, commu-       of the word, I am proud of both my parents’




                                                                          While I see myself as
                                                                          “American” in every sense
                                                                          of the word, I am proud
                                                                          of both my parents’
                                                                          national backgrounds...




28   Gavel to Gavel
national backgrounds, for I know they have served      below, in very general terms, the Indian system
as the building blocks to my character and helped      of justice was based on English common law.
make me the person I am today.                            There are several fundamental principles in
   My parents had different childhood experi-          the Indian Constitution that have their roots in
ences. My mother was raised on a dairy and             English law. They include the parliamentary
poultry farm in West Yorkshire, England. She was       form of government; the concept that there is
the fourth daughter of five children. Although her     one citizenry; the importance of the rule of law;
family was not wealthy and was severely affected       the institution of the speaker (i.e., the person
by the Depression, she rarely remembers being          who presides over the lower house of Parliament)
“in need” of anything and often credits her            and the process for passing binding legislation.
mother for teaching her how to stretch even the        When interpreting issues of law, judges in India
smallest amount of money. My mother pursued a          often rely on historical English common law in
nursing career and eventually accepted a position      reaching their conclusions.
working 12-hour shifts at
Halifax General Hospital
while still contributing to
the farming operations.         The similarities between English common law
   My father’s path was
dominated by academic
                               and the Indian judicial system have apparently
drive. He was the eldest           sparked a relatively recent pact between the
son of six children and                           United Kingdom and India.
was raised in northern
India. At a very early
age, my grandparents
and my father’s teachers recognized that he was           The similarities between English common
intellectually gifted. In order to allow my father     law and the Indian judicial system have appar-
to grow academically, my grandmother sold her          ently sparked a relatively recent pact between
jewelry so the family could assist in funding          the United Kingdom and India. In this regard,
medical school for him in England. He graduated        an agreement has been met whereby lawyers
from medical school at age 22 and began an             practicing in India may take a Qualified Lawyers
internship at Halifax General.                         Transfer Test (QLTT) which, if passed, allows
   My father met my mother in England at               Indian lawyers to practice in the supreme courts
Halifax General. They were married in England          of England and Wales.
and remained there to allow my father to finish           Like the fundamental principles shared by their
his internship. After completing his internship, my    native systems of justice, my parents shared beliefs
father was offered a residency position at Harvard’s   which were structurally similar. I consider myself
Massachusetts General Hospital. Because of the         fortunate to have been raised in a household where
prestige of this institution and the opportunities     my parents reflected on their diverse backgrounds
available in the United States, my parents immi-       to teach the virtues of responsibility, compassion
grated to the United States. They eventually           and a strong work-ethic. ■
moved to Chicago where they raised my sister and
me.
   It is true that my parents were raised in sepa-
rate parts of the world with culturally different
traditions. It is also true that their childhood and
educational backgrounds were very different. But,
in many respects, my parents were subjected to
the same governmental and judicial structure.
Thus, their exposure to formalized rules or justice    SANJAY KUMAR   is a judge at the San Fernando
systems was very similar. In fact, as explained        Courthouse.




                                                                            Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   29
Of Note

Presentations                                                                 Appointments
Bradford Andrews (Long Beach)          Phillip Mautino (Los Padrinos)         Commissioner Stephen Marpet
presided over the Mock Trial           was a guest speaker on the topic       (Children’s Court)
Competition for the Constitutional     of the Juvenile Justice System on      March 30, 2006
Rights Foundation on March 17          the following dates:
and 18, 2006.                                                                 Robert S. Harrison
                                       Whittier Christian                     March 30, 2006
Aviva Bobb (Mosk) was a guest          Junior High School
speaker for the Pasadena Bar           April 6, 2006                          Commissioner Lori-Anne C. Jones
Association’s Probate and Trust                                               (Downey)
Section on the topic of a “View from   La Mirada High School                  March 10, 2006
Department 1” on March 20, 2006.       March 29, 2006
                                                                              Richard S. Kemalyan
John P. Doyle (Glendale) partici-      Signal Hill High Twelve                March 09, 2006
pated in the Calabasas High School     March 21, 2006
Mock Trial Competition Workshop                                               Thomas Trent Lewis (Mosk)
at Pepperdine Law School on            Bellflower High School                 March 03, 2006
February 17, 2006.                     February 15, 2006
                                       Bellflower High School                 Victor L. Wright (Metropolitan)
Michael Hoff (Van Nuys) was a panel    February 7, 2006                       March 03, 2006
speaker at the San Fernando Valley
Bar Association’s symposium on
“What every Litigator Needs to Know
about ADR: A View from the Judges
and Mediators” on March 14, 2006.




ASSISTANT PRESIDING JUDGE STEPHEN      CERTIFICATES WERE AWARDED TO TEMPORARY JUDGES AT AN APPRECIATION CEREMONY
J . CZULEGER CONGRATULATES MARK        IN APRIL .
KOPEKIN , THE TEMPORARY JUDGE
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR .




30   Gavel to Gavel
Of Note




JUDGE BRADFORD L . ANDREWS
PRESIDES OVER THE MOCK
TRIAL COMPETITION FOR THE
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
FOUNDATION .




                             above:    JUDGES HELEN BENDIX AND
                             JOHN KRONSTADT PROUDLY DISPLAY
                             THEIR DAUGHTER NICOLA KRONSTADT ’ S
                             AWARD WINNING ARTWORK AT THE
                             PRESENTATION CEREMONY. HER PIECE
                             IS TITLED BLUE LABEL AND WON
                             FIRST PLACE IN THE YOUTH AGES          12–18
                             CATEGORY.


                             left:   JUDGES COMMITTED TO THE TEEN
                             COURT PROGRAM MEET AT A HISTORIC
                             TEEN COURT SUMMIT TO DISCUSS THIS
                             ALTERNATIVE EARLY INTERVENTION COURT
                             THAT INVOLVES YOUNG PEOPLE IN
                             VARIOUS ROLLS IN THE TRIAL OF A JUVE -
                             NILE OFFENDER .




                             Los Angeles Superior Court Judicial Magazine   31
                      PHOTOS AT RIGHT FROM THE LEFT TOP
                      ACROSS AND MOVING DOWN : JUDGES
                      JAMES KADDO, KELVIN FILER , SANJAY KUMAR ,
                      RICHARD E . RICO, JACQUELINE NGUYEN ,
                      ZAVEN V. SINANIAN , SOUSSAN BRUGUERA ,
                      ELWOOD LUI , TAMMY CHUNG RYU,
                      ROLF M . TREU, DONNA GROMAN AND
                      RAFAEL ONGKEKO.




32   Gavel to Gavel

				
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