Veteran judge retires with a tear in his eye
August 1, 2008
Friday morning was almost a typical one for El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Jerald Lasarow.
He walked into a courtroom after a bailiff’s announcement, took a moment to honor the U.S. flag and sat down at the bench.
Only this time, there was fanfare.
Cheers of “Here comes the judge” and a round of applause from the audience greeted Lasarow as he traced the familiar path Friday.
After 18 years as a Superior Court judge, Friday marked the beginning of Lasarow’s retirement.
In June, voters selected attorney Steven Bailey to fill Lasarow’s seat. Bailey is scheduled to take over Lasarow’s Department 4 judgeship in January.
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When asked about the timing of his retirement, Lasarow – who espoused the varied benefits of bicycling during part of Friday’s proceedings – drew an analogy to the two-wheeled hobby.
“It’s time in my life to get on my bike and keep on riding,” Lasarow said.
The longtime judge complimented his co-workers at the courthouse over the years.
“I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful staff,” Lasarow said.
Courthouse employees, as well as attorneys from both sides of the room, returned the favor, presenting Lasarow with several gifts and a plaque honoring his service.
Lasarow was nearly brought to tears at points during Friday’s proceedings, including after Candace Tolley, a recovering methamphetamine addict and Adult Felony Drug Court participant, read the judge an original poem from behind the defendant’s table.
Tolley’s poem included the line, “Life has meaning because you gave me a chance.”
Tolley has been clean for 10 months, and her poem praised Lasarow’s decision to allow her into the felony drug court program.
The drug court was launched in November to treat adults who struggle with substance abuse and have committed nonviolent felonies.
Lasarow offered to attend the graduations of members of the felony drug court Friday and said defendants in his courtroom have given him more than one might expect.
“I’ve probably learned more from the people here then I could teach them,” Lasarow said.
During his retirement, Lasarow plans to serve as a traveling judge in El Dorado County.