Meet The Judge

ventura-City-Hall1Judge Grover Roswell Akers is a fictional judge based on a memoir of California Superior Court Judge, Louis Drapeau Sr. (Louis C. Drapeau, Senior; Autobiography of a Country Lawyer; 1941; available at the Museum of Ventura County/Library, 100 E. Main St., Ventura CA 93001), the grandfather of a friend.

Judge Drapeau writes in his autobiography that he was rejected both by his step-father and his birth father and as a teenager managed to find odd jobs as a cowboy, mule skinner, Borax 20 mule team driver and dockhand. Eventually he met and worked for a Senator, earned a law degree from Georgetown Law School, settled in Ventura, Calif., practiced law (with law partner Erle Stanley Gardner, for you Perry Mason fans), and became a Superior Court Judge by the late 1930s.

Judge Akers, or The Judge as I refer to him in THE JUDGE’S STORY, has a similar background and practiced law prior to his appointment as a Superior Court Judge in Ventura, a small town in California north of Los Angeles. Much like the real judge on whom he is based, The Judge cares about juvenile crime especially, which we discover in the story when he delays sentencing a fourteen-year-old in order to learn the identity of the murderer of the murder-robbery in which the juvenile participated. We also learn that he has many of the hero-traits of the actual judge, such as, defending the Mexican-heritage population of the small town.

The Judge probably goes beyond what a typical Superior Court Judge would do to secure justice. As a human being, he misses his late wife, regrets failures deeply, prefers the friendliness of small towns although cautions us about potential “mob” mentality, enjoys listening to the radio, and likes driving late-model cars. When he’s not in court, he spends time helping out at the boys club and searching for ways to support those who need help. He’s not perfect, however, and we’re never quite sure of his position on the role of women.