San Diego Superior Court Judge Richard Strauss Retires

Oct 29,2021
Judge Richard Strauss

Judge Richard E. L. Strauss will retire from the San Diego Superior Court today after serving 26 years on the bench having presided over civil, probate, and criminal law cases.

In reflecting upon his years of judicial service, Judge Strauss said, “When I went to law school it struck me that there was something majestic about our legal system.  In my years on the bench I have had the opportunity to see the full majesty play out right before me.  It has been a great honor to serve on the San Diego Superior Court.”

Judge Strauss was appointed to the San Diego Superior Court on October 12, 1995 by Governor Pete Wilson.  Prior to his appointment, he served for four years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and was the president of the Strauss and Kissane law firm where he specialized in employee benefit plans, commercial real estate, and finance.

In 1998, after only three years on the bench, Judge Strauss was elected by his peers to become the Assistant Presiding Judge of the San Diego Superior Court, followed in 2002 with the role of Presiding Judge.  During this tenure, Judge Strauss along with Judge Wayne Peterson, led the San Diego courts through the unification of San Diego’s Municipal and Superior Courts. Through their leadership and guidance, the arduous process of unification was completed which resulted in a more accessible and efficient court that better served the community.

Additionally, Judge Strauss served on the California Judicial Council for three years under the leadership of Chief Justice Ronald George.

Judge Strauss spent 18 years of his judicial career in an independent civil calendar department where he presided over hundreds of jury trials and settlement conferences.  One of his most notable cases took place in 2007 where there were more than 2,500 lawsuits filed against SDG&E whose power lines were blamed for igniting the Witch Creek, Guejito and Rice Canyon fires.  All the cases were combined and Judge Strauss was instrumental in resolving the matters without going to trial.  He credits the attorneys saying, “The attorneys for both sides were excellent.”

“Judge Strauss is one of the finest trial judges in the history of our court.  He is known for his excellent demeanor, his keen ability to comprehend complex litigation issues and his tireless work effort.  We all wish him well in a much deserved retirement,” said San Diego Superior Court Presiding Judge Lorna Alksne.

Judge Strauss earned his BA in 1963 and a master’s degree in 1964 from Stanford University.  In 1968, he obtained a Juris Doctorate degree from the USD School of Law.

In retirement, Judge Strauss plans to spend time playing golf, traveling and reading.  He hasn’t yet made any big plans other than taking it as it comes and enjoying retirement.