Hon. Peter J. Mirich, Jr. '78

Judge, Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles

Mirich watches the town of Catalina closely from his bench, elevated slightly above the adjacent sea level. He has occupied his legal aerie, a Los Angeles County Superior Court seat, since 1988. Four days a week Mirich presides over a courtroom in San Pedro, but every Friday he rides the boat or helicopter out to the island. If need be, the amphibious judge could even paddle his paddleboard across the channel, a feat he has accomplished during Los Angeles-to-Catalina paddle races.

Mirich’s fitness might have played a part in his landslide victory during Catalina’s judicial elections 14 years ago. As one longtime resident put it, he had never seen a political candidate go door to door, toiling on the steep hillsides of Avalon, but Mirich did it. In 1998 Catalina’s public expressed their desire for a judge who wasn’t a local; someone who would administer California law, not a relaxed Catalina hybrid. Mirich certainly has obliged.

At the end of each sunwashed Catalina-Island day, this Judge hurries for the helipad, while lawyers, tourists, and orange-clad convicts ramble onto the 5 o’clock boat, leaving Avalon serene, in fading light, but keenly watched by a distant Judge.