Culver City Observer -

Services Held For Judge Cherness

 

March 24, 2016



The Honorable Harold I. Cherness died peacefully in his sleep in Santa Monica on March 10 at 93, the eldest of four children.

Born in Brooklyn on July 28, 1922, his father encouraged him to enter the live poultry business however he was a keen student with a quick and curious mind, Hal decided to pursued a college degree at UCLA until his formal education was interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the US Army, mostly in the Pacific theater.

Upon his honorable discharge from the military Cherness returned to UCLA, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1946, and shortly thereafter entered law school at the USC, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree.

After 25 years in private practice, much of it as a criminal defense attorney, Cherness was appointed to the Municipal Court for the Culver Judicial District in 1975 by Governor Jerry Brown and later to the Superior Court.

After 38 years of distinguished service on the bench, Judge Cherness retired in 2013 at age 90. When he became eligible to retire at 65 percent of salary in 1991, at the age of 68, he advised local officials that he would remain on the bench. Culver City responded with a celebration at the local senior center and the passage of a congratulatory resolution by the City Council.

He was the first municipal court judge to receive the Criminal Courts Bar Association’s Trial Judge of the Year Award, bestowed in 1991. He was also active in bar and civic activities, serving as president of the Lawyers Club of Los Angeles County and of the local chapter of B’nai Brith.

Hal was devoted to his wife, Gertrude Cherness, whom he married in 1945 and with whom he had two children, Janel and Darryl. Two years after Trudy’s death, Hal met and married Carolyn Falstein, with whom he shared 15 wonderful years.

Judge Cherness was a longtime member and past president of the Culver City Democratic Club. He is a past president of the Lawyers Club of Los Angeles County and of the local chapter of B’nai Brith. Hal and Carolyn are members of Temple Akiba in Culver City.

Cherness will be remembered as a passionate believer in the law, a fierce defender of civil rights, a committed champion of the under-privileged and a loving father, husband, and friend of many.

He is survived by his daughter, Janel, and son-in-law Marshall Bloom; son Darryl, daughter-in-law Amy Cherness, and granddaughter Isabell; and four step-children and seven grandchildren.

He was a defender of civil rights, a committed champion of the under-privileged and a loving father, husband, and friend of many.

 

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