Mario L. Clinco, twice voted Trial Judge of the Year during his 20-year tenure on the Los Angeles Superior Court bench, died May 8 of cancer at his Beverly Hills home.
Clinco, 71, appointed to the Municipal Court in 1961 and to the Superior Court in 1964, had retired in 1984.
In 1975, when he was sitting as presiding judge of Department A of the Superior Court in Santa Monica, he was chosen for his "intense dedication" as Trial Judge of the Year by the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Assn. A similar honor came from the statewide association in 1979.
Clinco, acting presiding judge of the county's 22 criminal departments during the 1965 Watts riots, was admitted to the New York Bar in 1938 after receiving his law degree from Fordham University. He moved to California after wartime service as an Army intelligence agent and was admitted to the California Bar in 1948.
He was honored by both the Italian and Israeli governments for his services and in 1984 received Hebrew University's Torch of Learning Award at a dinner sponsored by the American Friends of that university. Proceeds from that dinner went to establish a scholarship in his name at the Jerusalem school.
Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth, sons Peter and Michael and a grandson.