Judge David Szumowski|Retiring in San Diego

     SAN DIEGO (CN) — San Diego Superior Court Judge David Szumowski will retire after more than 18 years as the “first stop” judge for many of San Diego’s high-profile criminal cases.
     Szumowski was appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson in 1998 and spent his entire career on the bench presiding over felony arraignments.
     High-profile defendants arraigned in his court included Mike Montana, accused of shooting KFMB sportscaster Kyle Kraska; Peter Robbins, the voice of Charlie Brown, sentenced to jail for criminal threats and parole violations; and Kristin Rossum, a toxicologist convicted of killing her husband with fentanyl stolen from the Medical Examiner’s office.
     Superior Court spokeswoman Karen Dalton said that any “media case” in San Diego Superior Court made its first stop in Szumowski’s courtroom.
     Szumowski was a deputy district attorney from 1986 to 1998, before taking his post on the bench. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 1967 and received his law degree from Denver University in 1973.
     Presiding Judge Jeffrey Barton said Szumowski will be hard to replace.
     “Judge Szumowski has had a long and distinguished career on our bench,” Barton said.
     “He has provided a consistently high level of judicial excellence in a challenging assignment and has been key to the functioning of our criminal court.”
     Szumowski said he plans to “toss the alarm clock and donate suits to thrift shops.”
     “As I approach an age when life expectancy begins to have meaning, I think that if one can afford to retire and with good health, one should,” Szumowski said.
     “I have had the privilege to work with extremely dedicated and professional people within the court and legal community, and I will remember the support and friendships made over these past 18 years.”
     When Szumowski served in the Vietnam War, he was blinded by exploding shrapnel. He said he plans to spend his retirement taking long walks with his guide dog Speedwell, traveling with his wife Janice and trying his hand at writing his autobiography.
     Photo credit: Jamie Scott Lytle/ Voice of San Diego.

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