92-year-old fighting for 10-year-olds - Off-Ramp Dec. 17, 2011

Judge James Reese - 92-year old advocate for troubled kids

John Rabe

92-year old Judge James Reese in his law office, December 12, 2011.

Courtesy James Reese

The food was better in the officers mess - James Reese remembers huge bowls of strawberries that came with huge pitchers of cream - but you had to pay for it. This is the MONTHLY bill.

Courtesy James Reese

John Rabe

December 12, 2011. Judge James Reese in his law office.

Courtesy James Reese

James Reese, Compton Mayor Lionel Cade, and Governor Jerry Brown.

Courtesy James Reese

James Reese, Charles Matthews, Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke, and an unknown person.

Courtesy James Reese

James Reese, US Army

Courtesy James Reese

A column Reese wrote for an informal serviceman's newspaper.

Courtesy James Reese

Judge James Reese and his Officer's Candidates School, which he says was his first unsegregated group experience. He's in the third row, third from the right.


On Off-Ramp, we like to talk with witnesses to history, people who bring history alive, instead of leaving it on the dry pages of a book. Retired Judge James Reese is one of these voices of history. He was raised in the segregated south, served in the Army during WW2, became one of the relatively few black lawyers in LA in 1946, and was Ray Charles' legal counsel for two years before becoming LA's first black Superior Court commissioner. Later, he became a Superior Court judge. At 92, he's still hearing arbitration cases and has a new calling: a USC mentoring program for at-risk kids who can't read and write. Off-Ramp host John Rabe spoke with Judge Reese at his law office.


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