Justice John G. Gabbert has died in his Riverside home at 104

John Gabbert was born June 20, 1909. In addition to a distinguished legal career, he is also credited as the person who spearheaded the gabbert121013.jpgeffort to convince the Univeristy of California system to open a campus in Riverside.

Then-Gov. Reagan nominated Gabbert to the 4th District Court of Appeal in May of 1970. He served until retiring as a judge on June 1, 1974.   Gabbert is credited by many legal sources as the first judge to use the term “Mirandize” in the discussion of a court case.

Now a law, to be Mirandized by law enforcement is to inform arrested suspects of their legal rights, including the right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present.

He was also in private practice in Riverside between 1938-43 and 1945-49.

His death Monday night in his Riverside home was confirmed by family members.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Katherine Jeanette Fuller of Tulare.

The couple had three children: Sarah, born June 29, 1940; Katherine, born December 24, 1942; and Scott, born January 28, 1946.

Gabbert arrived in Riverside as a child. In 1912 his father, J.R. Gabbert, moved the family from Oxnard.

Not long after arriving in the city, Gabbert’s father bought the Riverside Enterprise newspaper. (The Press was a separate publication that would later be combined with the Riverside Enterprise.)

Gabbert’s father was editor and publisher, while the younger Gabbert handled odd jobs at the publication.

While physically frail, his mind was sharp when he celebrated his 104th birthday with family and friends.  In an interview with InstantRiverside.com, Gabbert declared that his secret to a long life was simply to “keep breathing.”

He was also aware of his mortality, “I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around.”  He was cared for by his children, seldom left home, and enjoyed talking about current events being covered in the news.

Filed under Headline, Inside

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


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