The Judge: The Life & Times of Louis B. Dematteis is a new documentary film for public television that profiles the influential life and career of San Mateo County Superior Court Judge
Louis B. Dematteis.
Judge Dematteis, a pillar of the Italian American community, dedicated his life to public service, touching lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout California. He grew up in Redwood City's Little Italy speaking Italian. He studied hard while holding down jobs, passed the bar at age 20 and became the youngest lawyer in the state. As a district attorney in the 1940s, he made headlines across California, leading late night raids on gambling houses throughout San Mateo County. He gave Sandra Day O'Connor her first job as a lawyer when no one would hire her because she was a woman. Appointed Superior Court judge by Governor Earl Warren, he reasoned against injustice and ethnic and racial stereotypes. For more than 40 years Dematteis used his leadership to change the social and political landscape throughout the region.
Today, the Bay Area is a diverse community filled with many cultural traditions. San Mateo County
is a great place to live, because of men and women like Judge Dematteis. His story represents an important era in history that is quickly fading. As the years pass, the people who remember Redwood City's Little Italy will soon be gone. This documentary project will preserve Judge Dematteis' legacy and the story of tens of thousands of Italian immigrants who came to San Mateo County and California in the first half of the twentieth century.