Charles Litwin, a retired Los Angeles County Superior Court judge who helped clear the route for the Blue Line light-rail system between Los Angeles and Long Beach, has died. He was 78.
Litwin died Sunday of pancreatic cancer at his Long Beach home, his son Dave Leddel said Wednesday.
In 1986, a group of merchants and property owners organized as No Slo Transit sued to prevent the Blue Line from traveling along Long Beach Boulevard.
Litwin denied their request, however, deciding that the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (now the Metropolitan Transportation Authority) had properly considered the economic impact and other environmental factors of building a two-mile segment on the busy thoroughfare. His ruling was upheld by the 2nd District Court of Appeal.
Born in Hamilton, Canada, Litwin moved to Los Angeles in 1930 and graduated from Los Angeles High School and Southwestern Law School.
After private law practice, he was named to the Long Beach Municipal Court bench in 1966 by then-Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown Sr. Ten years later, Brown’s son, Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr., elevated Litwin to the Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Litwin served primarily in the court’s Long Beach and Norwalk branches, and continued to serve on the Long Beach bench by special appointment after his official retirement. He handled civil and criminal cases over his long career, and was often praised for his gentle, concerned style and non-authoritarian demeanor.
A civic leader in Long Beach, Litwin served as president of the area’s Jewish Family Service and Jewish Community Federation and was chairman of its Community Relations Committee and United Jewish Welfare Fund.
Survivors include his four sons, Kerry Litwin and Dave, Mike and Ed Leddel; a sister, Kay Horowitz, a brother, Leslie Litwin, and three grandchildren.
Services are scheduled for noon Friday at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 Centinela Ave.
The family has asked that any memorial donations be made to the Jewish Welfare Federation, 3801 E. Willow St., Long Beach 90815.