Obituaries » Robert Feinerman
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September 24, 1926 - January 12, 2018
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September 24, 1926 – January 12, 2018
Retired Presiding Justice of the California Court of Appeal Robert Feinerman passed away on January 12, 2018 at the age of 91.
Justice Feinerman was born in New York City on September 24, 1926 to Jacob and Gertrude Feinerman. When he was 10, the family moved to Hollywood, California. He graduated Hollywood High School at the age of 16. During high school, he won many awards for oratory and was involved in a number of community organizations. He served as Aleph Gadol (president) of the Jewish B’Nai Brith program (AZA) for the Western States.
He attended UCLA and received his BA degree at the age of 19. At UCLA, he wrote sports columns for the Daily Bruin, earned a varsity letter for Cricket, and continued to win awards for oratory and debate. He was a lifelong Bruin sports fan, attending every home basketball and football game, unless he was away on vacation.
Justice Feinerman was elected to the Boards of the Jewish Community Council and the Jewish Centers Association of Los Angeles. He represented the Jewish Community on the L. A. County Recreation and Youth Services Committee and the Social Welfare Committee. He was elected a Director of the Jewish Federation and, subsequently, served as president of the B’Nai Brith Los Angeles and Pacific Southwest region of ADL.
Fresh from UCLA, he briefly taught fourth grade before entering Boalt Hall (now known as Berkeley Law). He received his J.D. in 1949 at the age of 22.
After Justice Feinerman was admitted to the California State Bar, he became general counsel for Budget Pack, Inc., a large food manufacturer and processing company in 1950. In October 1953, he opened up a law practice in Beverly Hills, specializing in representing employers in union contract negotiations.
In 1960, he formed and became the first president of Westdale Savings and Loan Association. The institution grew to seven branches before he was appointed to the California Municipal Court by Governor Pat Brown in February 1963 at the age of 36. In April 1965 he was elevated to the Los Angeles Superior Court by Governor Pat Brown. He also taught Evidence and Psychiatry and the Law at USC Law School in the late 1960s.
In April 1982 he was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to be the Administrative Presiding Justice of Division 5 of the 2nd District Court of Appeal. He also served by assignment on the California Supreme Court.
Justice Feinerman retired from the Court of Appeal in February 1988 and started a practice as a private judge, becoming a preeminent arbitrator and mediator in the entertainment and aviation fields. While on the bench and thereafter, he handled cased involving Johnny Carson, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Anne Baxter, Cher, Madonna, Natalee Cole, Glen Campbell, Richard Zanick, Guns & Roses, Norman Lear and the estate of Howard Hughes, among others.. In the aviation field, he served as mediator for a large number of air accidents including the Korean Air 801 crash.
He served on numerous committees during his distinguished legal career: Chairman, California Center for Judicial Education and Research; Vice President, California Judges Association; Select Committee on Supreme Court Procedures; Chairman, Appellate Courts Institute; Faculty of California Judicial College; Judicial Advisor to California State Bar committee on Court Reform, Civil subcommittee; Chairman, Ethics Committee, California Judges Association; National Conference of State Trial Judges’ Committee on Fair Trial and Free Press.
In the early 2000s, he was selected five times by the Daily Journal as one of the top California neutrals in their annual review.
Justice Feinerman continued to act as a mediator/arbitrator until he was 90. In 2012, he participated in the Appellate World History Project which can be viewed on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc-B1GK1lRo
He was married to his lovely wife Sarah (Sunny) for 68 wonderful years. On their first date on New Year’s Eve 1944, he kissed her and decided that he was going to marry that beautiful blond haired blue eyed girl. They developed a love of traveling and visited 172 different countries, often with their grandchildren, during their life together.
He loved and was loved by his children Dr. Mark Feinerman (Crystal) and Carol Diamond (Ira) and his five grandchildren: Stephanie, Danielle and David Feinerman, and Jonathan and Michael Diamond. He was adored by Deborah Feinerman, and by his many friends and family in and out of the legal field.
Donations in his memory may be made to ADL at www.adl.org.