After 18 years in felony arraignment court, Judge David Szumowski is retiring from the San Diego Superior Court bench.
Appointed to the Municipal Court by Gov. Pete Wilson 1998, Szumowski became a Superior Court judge under court consolidation in December of that year.
The 70-year-old spent his entire judicial career presiding over felony arraignment proceedings, an indispensable court proceeding at which a criminal defendant is formally advised of the charges against him or her and is asked to enter a plea to those charges.
A judge plays a crucial role in an arraignment because at this time, the judge may also decide whether the defendant will be released pending trial.
“As I approach an age when life expectancy begins to have meaning, I think that if one can afford to retire and with good health, one should,” Szumowski said. “I have had the privilege to work with extremely dedicated and professional people within the court and legal community, and I will remember the support and friendships made over these past 18 years. I am grateful to have served both as a deputy district attorney and recently as a judge. It has been a wonderful career.”
A multi-decorated Army veteran, Szumowski worked as a counselor for the Veterans Administration (1977-80); executive director for Vietnam Veterans Leadership (1982-83); a private law practitioner (1984-85); and as a San Diego County deputy district attorney (1986-98) before his appointment to the bench.
A graduate of the University of Richmond, Virginia in 1967, Szumowski received his law degree from Denver University in 1973.
As for retirement plans, Szumowski said, “Initially, I will toss the alarm clock and donate suits to thrift shops. I love playing and practicing golf. I have many books in my digital library and now I will have time to read them. I hope to become fluent in Spanish, get better acquainted with my exercise equipment, take long walks with Speedwell, my guide dog, and try my hand at writing my autobiography. There will be some travel with my wife Janice also. There is a lot of this country we have not explored.”
—City News Service