Marcus O. Tucker Jr., the first African American to serve as presiding judge of Long Beach Municipal Court and an early advocate of restorative justice for teenage offenders, has died at the age of 80.
Tucker, who grew up in Santa Monica and became the first African American deputy city attorney in his hometown, went on to become a presiding juvenile court justice and a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge.
But it was his passion in rehabilitating juvenile offenders that shaped his career on the bench.
He advocated for teen courts with peer juries, initiated low-cost drug testing that parents could use under the court's watch, and helped establish a playground facility for children waiting court action.
"He loved helping kids turn their lives around," his daughter, Angelique Chamberlain, said.
His fear, she said, was that by the time offenders reached adult court, "it was a little too late."
Tucker was born Nov. 12, 1934. His father was a physician, his mother a teacher. He attended USC and Howard University Law School, where he served on the editorial staff of the Howard Law School Journal. He later earned a master's degree from Chapman University.