Sins of Omission

Chuck Older

Recently, a younger acquaintance of mine, an actor on stage and screen, mentioned with disgust the circus-like atmosphere that pervaded the trial of O.J. Simpson for the murder of his ex-wife.  I noted that early on in the trial, Judge Lance Ito simply lost control of the proceedings, and the “Dream Team” of defense attorneys ran the show.  I also noted that an earlier trial that had the potential of becoming an even greater circus was conducted in a manner opposite that of the Simpson debacle.  Part of the credit for the difference goes to highly competent prosecutors, unlike the feckless pair of prosecutors in the Simpson trial, but the principal difference was the quiet authority and command presence of the judge, California native Charles H. Older.  My younger acquaintance knew nothing of Judge Older, although they both graduated—more than four decades apart—from the same high school.

The Hanford-born but Los Angeles-reared Chuck Older was not only a top athlete at Beverly Hills High School in the early-to-mid 1930’s but an Eagle Scout and the student-body president.  He went on to UCLA, planning on attending law school immediately after graduation.  However, as he recalled, he changed his plans with

the arrival on campus of a Lt. (JG) Naval Aviator in full uniform with gold wings, bent on recruiting cadets for naval aviation. . . . The uniform...

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