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Retired Judge of Superior Court Held in Hospital

Times Staff Writer

Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Everett E. Ricks Jr. was being held involuntarily Monday in a Long Beach hospital, where he was taken for psychiatric treatment more than a week ago, officials said.

Long Beach police took the 52-year-old former jurist to the hospital after detaining him twice within 24 hours and concluding that he was a danger to himself and others, officials said.

Ricks, who retired last year after breaking his pelvis in two places in an automobile accident, was initially arrested Dec. 6 when his 82-year-old mother called police and said her son had hit her and threatened to kill someone if she did not give him keys to a car, police said.

When an officer arrived at the mother’s house, police said Ricks swore at him and advanced with a clenched right fist. The officer tackled the former judge.

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Ricks, who presided at many criminal cases during his years on the bench, including the double-murder trial of James Harold (Doc) Holiday, a former head of the Black Guerrilla Family, was held in jail overnight.

When he was released, he returned to his mother’s house, where he was staying. Police detained him again and took him to the hospital, officials said.

It was unclear what developed at the house. Ricks’ mother, Naomi, refused to talk to a reporter Monday.

Injured in Car Crash

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Ricks won election to the Superior Court in 1978 and retired last July because of a physical disability. He had been injured some months earlier in an automobile accident, when his car reportedly went off the road on the way to Big Bear. People who have seen him recently said he walks with a limp and appears to be in pain.

Ricks practiced criminal law in Long Beach in the 1960s and was appointed to the Compton Municipal Court bench in 1972 by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan.

After 72 hours of initial observation at Memorial Medical Center of Long Beach, a psychiatrist there ordered that he be held up to 14 days against his will, officials said. California law allows psychiatrists to do that under certain circumstances if they believe that someone is a danger to himself or others.

Ricks petitioned a court for his release. But, at a closed-door hearing last Thursday, Superior Court Judge Morton Rochman denied Ricks’ petition for a writ of habeas corpus, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified.

Ricks was represented at the hearing by Deputy Public Defender Kathleen Cannon. The public defender’s office represents those who cannot afford to pay for their own attorneys.

Rochman ruled that Ricks should be held, at the discretion of the psychiatrists, for up to the full 14 days. At that time, the psychiatrists could seek court permission for additional involuntary hospitalization or discharge Ricks.


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