Division Five: Presiding Justice Paul Turner

Presiding Justice Paul TurnerPresiding Justice Paul Turner was born on Columbus Day, 1947 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He graduated from Antelope Valley High School in 1965 and received his bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in political science from then California State College at Long Beach in June 1969. He graduated from the School of Law at the University of California at Los Angeles in December, 1972 after completing active duty training in the U.S. Army. He served in the California Army National Guard as an infantry platoon leader. After passing the February 1973, bar examination, he was admitted to practice law in California. He later was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

As a lawyer in private practice, he litigated both criminal and civil cases in federal and state courts. He also represented principally criminal defendants in several hundred appeals. He represented the defendant in the case of People v. Barraza in which the California Supreme Court changed the test for entrapment in California courts. He also represented the California Retailers Association and former State Senator Newton Russell in the case of In re Deborah C. where the California Supreme Court held that Miranda warnings need not be given by store security guards.

On October 4, 1983, at the age of 35, he was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court. In 1984, he was challenged for his seat on the municipal court in the primary election. He won the June primary election after securing endorsements from virtually every side of the political spectrum and retained his seat with 67.18 percent of the vote. In 1984 and 1985, he was appointed by Governor George Deukmejian to serve as the judicial representative to the Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Alcohol, Drugs, and Traffic Safety. On March 1, 1985, at the age of 38, he was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court. While on that court, he was the first judge to serve in the night court project where felony cases were tried during the late afternoon and evening as part of an effort to reduce county jail crowding. Later, after serving one year as a law and motion civil judge, he was 1 of 25 civil judges assigned to the trial court delay reduction project. This program assigned civil cases to judges and gave them the responsibility of insuring that the lawsuits were promptly resolved. At the commencement of the program, civil cases were routinely taking five years to resolve. In then Judge Turner’s court, virtually all new cases were resolved within one year rather than the normal five years that it had previously taken.

Appointed to Division Five of the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District by Governor George Deukmejian, he was confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments as an Associate Justice and took office on November 2, 1989. He was elevated to the position of Presiding Justice and after confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, took office on January 6, 1991. For six years he served as the Assistant Administrative Presiding Justice and as a Presiding Justice has sat by assignment on the California Supreme Court on seven occasions. He is currently a member of the Second Appellate District Executive Committee. He is a member of the California Judges Association and has served on that group’s civil law and procedure, criminal law, and election committees. On four separate occasions, he has been assigned by the California Supreme Court to act as a Special Master in hearings ordered by the Commission on Judicial Performance. He has sat by assignment as a justice pro tempore on the California Supreme Court.

He has delivered commencement addresses at the University of West Los Angeles School of Law and the Southern California Institute of Law School in Santa Barbara. He has spoken a two commencement ceremonies at California State University at Long Beach. He has received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law.

He has written the following articles: Forum, "Marsden and its Progeny," March 1980; University of West Los Angeles Law Review, "Creative and Dynamic Strategies for Using United Nations Institution and Procedures: The Frank Newman File," May 1990; Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Association, Advocate, "How Not to Get Sued for Trade Libel and Defamation," June 1993; University of West Los Angeles Law Review, "The Heart and Soul of California Summary Judgment Litigation--The Separate Statement of Disputed and Undisputed Facts," May 1994; Pepperdine Law School, The Cross-Examiner, Side Bar: Top 10 Tips (May 17, 1996); Continuing Education of the Bar, Civil Litigation Reporter, California’s Summary Judgment Law (August 1997); Continuing Education of the Bar, Civil Litigation Reporter, California Summary Adjudication Procedures (September 1997); Association of Business Trial Lawyers, ABTL Reporter, co-author of "Objections: The Moment of Truth" (June 1999); Pepperdine Law Review, "Preemption: The United States Arbitration Act, The Manifest Disregard of the Law Test for Vacating An Arbitration Award, and State Courts (November (1999); California Litigation, "Oral Argument and the Judson Welliver Society" (April 2001); and Advocate, "Six Tips for Effective Oral Argument" (July/August 2001). In addition, he has authored articles for the Los Angeles Daily Journal. He is a former contributing editor to the California Practice Guide Civil Procedure Before Trial. Justice Turner is also the former editor of a computer software program entitled, "California Law and Motion." He has served as a consultant on the following texts: California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice (1986); California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice (1994, 2nd ed.); California Judge’s Benchbook Civil Proceedings Before Trial (1995); California Judge’s Benchbook, Civil Proceedings Trial (1997); and California Judge’s Benchbook Civil Proceedings After Trial (1998). He is the coauthor of the book California Practice Guide: Civil Procedure Before Trial Statutes of Limitations.

He is a regular speaker to judges and court staff as part of continuing education programs presented by the Center for Judicial Education and Research on criminal and civil law. Further, he has been an instructor for the joint venture of the University of California and the State Bar of California entitled Continuing Education of the Bar and has spoken on the following topics: the Civil Discovery Act of 1986 (1987); written discovery (1987); civil trial fundamentals (1989); effective direct and cross-examination (1989, 1991, 1996); Proposition 115 (1990); criminal law update (1990-1999); criminal appeals (1996); and criminal law ethics (1996). He has spoken to numerous bar associations and legal and community groups including: California Judges Association; American Bar Association, Appellate Judges Conference; National Advocacy Center of the United States Department of Justice at the University of South Carolina; panels sponsored by the State Bar of California; Los Angeles Daily Journal "Bridging the Gap" program; Los Angeles County Bar Association; Beverly Hills Bar Association; Southern California Chinese Attorneys Association; Glendale Bar Association; Malibu Bar Association; Butte County Bar Association; San Gabriel Valley Bar Association; Northern Santa Barbara County Bar Association; Appellate Advocacy Academy of the Orange County Bar Association; Santa Monica Bar Association; Shasta-Trinity Counties Bar Association; State Bar of California Litigation Section; Lawyers Club of Los Angeles; Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles; San Fernando Valley Bar Association; Consumer Attorneys of California; Southern California Defense Counsel; California Young Lawyers Association; Culver-Marina Bar Association; Los Angeles County Criminal Courts Bar Association; Professional Association of Deputy Attorney Generals; Italian American Bar Association; Irish American Bar Association; California Association of Chiefs of Police; Governor’s Conference on Terrorism; California State University of Long Beach Institute of Criminal Justice; and Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training. He has presented Law Day addresses for the Antelope Valley Bar Association (1990) and the Santa Monica Bar Association (1998).

The California Judges Association has awarded him the Bernard Jefferson Award For Distinguished Service in Judicial Education. He received the Person of the Year Award from the Metropolitan News Enterprise and the Roger J. Traynor Appellate Justice of the Year Award from the Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles. He has also been honored as an Distinguished Alumnus By California State University at Long Beach.

He is married, has two daughters and five grandchildren and resides in Culver City. His wife Elizabeth is teaches music in the Torrance public school system and is the Chair of the Fine Arts Department at South Torrance High School. His hobbies include cross-country skiing, reading, running and weight lifting, music and the law.

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