ULV professor joins Superior Court

Lindsey Gooding
Staff Writer

University of La Verne Professor of Law Martha Bellinger has been appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

With the new year just around the corner, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed six judges to the Los Angeles Superior Court, filling the long standing vacancies.

Bellinger, 55, of Claremont, was appointed as Los Angeles Superior court commissioner in 1991 and has since been a commissioner in the Family Law and Juvenile Departments of Los Angeles County.

A registered democrat, Bellinger took the opening created in June by the retirement of Judge John Harris.

Bellinger is currently a judge at the Pomona Juvenile Court and has been an adjunct professor of law at the College of Law for 18 years. She is scheduled to teach a “Religion in the Law” class during the spring of 2005.

“She has invested many years into the College of Law and has had the chance to see it grow,” Dean and Professor of Law Donald Dunn said.

Bellinger graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in 1972. She then graduated from Whittier College School of Law with a juris doctorate in 1982.

In addition, she earned a master of divinity studies from Princeton Theological Seminary and a master of theology from Boston University School of Theology.

She started her career as a United Methodist Minister.

But that particular time period was hard on women ministers to be accepted, so she decided to go into law.

“I started off as a minister,” Judge Bellinger said. “Helping others was important to me.”

From there she became a probation officer in New York ?dealing with mostly children and teenagers. She worked for the law firm Dederman, Gridley, Mogab and Gradwohl in Los Angeles County from 1982-1983, and was a deputy district attorney with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

The Pomona juvenile courts work closely with the Pomona Unified school district. Their aim is to keep teens in school and help them not drop out or get in trouble. There is a program called Teen Court, where the teens run the court.

They decide what should happen to the student in the case. The teens are there for minor school offenses, such as fighting on campus. Bellinger and two other Judges preside over the case and keep things on track.

“I really do care about kids and teenagers in the court system,” Bellinger said. “I want them to have a chance to be rehabilitated.”

She is currently a member of the California Court Commissioners Association, California Judge Association and the American Association of University Women.

Even though she has taken on a new task as a superior court judge, Bellinger has plans to continue with the adjunct professor program.

“Martha has no plans of leaving the college of law,” professor H. Randall Rubin said. “She is a tremendous asset and supporter in the American Bar Association, a program she has had help in getting for the college of law.”

Lindsey Gooding can be reached at gryde4ever@yahoo.com.

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Posted September 23, 2005
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