In Memoriam :: Honorable James Perez (ret.)

Judge Perez was born in Metcalf, Arizona on April 27, 1926 and moved to Santa Ana in July 1932 as his father pursued new opportunities after working as a blacksmith in the copper mines. He attended Santa Ana High School and proudly served in the U.S. Army from 1944-1946. Judge Perez earned a BS in Accounting at USC in 1951 before graduating from USC Law School in 1955. He practiced law as a sole practitioner and then became a founding partner of the law firm Tuller, Rustin & Perez from 1956-1966 before Governor Pat Brown appointed him to be a judge of the Orange County Municipal Court in December 1966. In December of 1975, Governor Jerry Brown elevated him to be a judge of the Orange County Superior Court. Judge Perez was the first Latinx judge appointed to the Orange County bench. He retired in 1987, but came back to fill in on a part-time basis, when it did not interfere with his hunting or fishing schedule. He is survived by his wife, Carmen, of 54 years and his 5 sons, Jon, James, Joe, Robert and Michael, and 11 grandchildren. Three of his sons carry on his legal legacy. Judge Perez thrived in the courtroom but truly loved the outdoors, whether high up in snowy elk country or 100 miles offshore chasing after big tuna. The readily apparent love and respect Judge Perez earned from his family and the legal community was a source of great pride throughout his life.