Robert O. Staniforth (October 30, 1916 - April 19, 1995)

Associate Justice, December 22, 1976 - July 31, 1986

Robert O. Staniforth was born in Pueblo, Colorado, on October 30, 1916, the son of a Swedish steelworker. He came to California in 1932, graduating two years later from Redlands High School. Returning to Colorado, he graduated in 1939 from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of education degrees. He worked his way through school as a store clerk, laborer and a sergeant in the National Guard Armory at Boulder. Following graduation, he was an elementary school principal in Holyoke, Colorado and then a high school history and government teacher in Wickenburg, Arizona. In 1941 and 1942, he did post-graduate work in political science and public administration at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the University of Colorado. During the three years that followed, he worked as a tool designer and draftsman at Douglas Aircraft Company while he attended the University of Southern California Law School from which he graduated first in his class. He was admitted to the Bar on December 11, 1945. He served as law clerk to U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Judge William Healy from 1945 to 1946 and to former California Supreme Court Chief Justice Phil S. Gibson in 1946. He then moved to San Diego where he practiced law from 1947 to 1959, as well as taught government and criminology at San Diego Junior College and advanced business law at San Diego State College (now University). Governor Edmund G. Brown, Sr. appointed him to the San Diego County Municipal Court on November 10, 1959, and later elevated him to the San Diego County Superior Court on March 2, 1964. He was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law from 1964 to 1968, inclusive. He was also on the faculty at the California College of Trial Judges (now California Judicial College (CJER)) from 1970 to 1971. On December 22, 1976 (date of oath), he succeeded Associate Justice Vincent A. Whelan on Division One of the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, upon his appointment by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. on November 17. He served on the Commission on Judicial Performance from 1979 to 1986. In 1981, he was temporarily assigned to sit on the California Supreme Court, where he wrote the majority opinion in Bell v. Industrial Vangas, Inc. (1981) 30 Cal.3d 268 - a case that dealt with the dual capacity doctrine as applied to the conditions of workers' compensation liability. Although he retired from the Court on July 31, 1986, he continued to work as a retired judge on temporary assignment to trial and appellate courts throughout the state until his death on April 19, 1995.