Judge Robert Takasugi from the Central District of California passed away on Tuesday. The first Japanese-American appointed to federal court in Los Angeles, he presided with fairness and a wry sense of humor, ruling on some of the most publicized cases in the district’s modern history.
Judge Tagasuki supported the publication of the Central District Almanac, which grew into Courthouse News, from its earliest days 15 years ago. Among the famous trials he handled, he presided over the prosecution of carmaker John DeLorean which drew international press coverage. He handled that prosecution in a fair, calm and even-handed manner.
In a long-ago interview with the editor of this publication, he described his experience as a 12-year-old in the Japanese internment camps during WWII with a total absense of rancor. He said he enjoyed returning to the island of Hokkaido in Japan to regain his sense of peace and calm, and decorated his chambers and the area behind his bench with prints from that region.
Judge Takasugi was deeply personable when passing in the hallways of the courthouse and he and his staff were consistently considerate and open with the press, as he was with litigants and attorneys before him. He will be well and warmly remembered.