Father, Son Stick to Legal Custom

Judge Flynn swore in Judge Flynn in an unusual ceremony Friday in Orange County Municipal Court.

Retired Judge John L. Flynn Jr. administered the oath of office to his son, John L. Flynn III, an occasion that court observers said was uncommon but was not so unusual for the Flynn family.

The elder Flynn had been sworn in by his father, John L. Flynn Sr., almost 30 years ago in the same courtroom: Division 201.

"It never occurred to me not to ask my father to swear me in," said the newest Judge Flynn. "That's the way our family has always been."

Judge Flynn Jr. recalled becoming an Orange County municipal judge in 1970. He later became a Superior Court judge, serving for almost 20 years.

"It's a real honor," the retired judge said, adding, "Maybe [my son] will retire like I did."

Another twist was that the newest Judge Flynn will be assigned to Division 205, the same courtroom where his father started.

"It was purely coincidence," said presiding Municipal Judge Marjorie Laird Carter. Friday's ceremony took place in her courtroom.

Carter said new judges may choose who swears them in as long as those people meet certain legal requirements. Judges and some court clerks are eligible, she said.

Judge Flynn III, 41, a Rancho Santa Margarita resident, was appointed to fill a Municipal Court vacancy in April by Gov. Pete Wilson.

About 100 people filled the courtroom during the hourlong ceremony Friday, including the new judge's three children and his wife, Dorothy.

Flynn will have to run for election next year if he wants to keep the position. Will he do so? "Obviously," he said.

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