He is 62 years old, a graduate of USC School of Law and one of the most respected members of the Los Angeles County bench.
Special Section: The Conrad Murray Trial
He's also the man presiding over the case of People vs. Conrad Murray.
Meet judge Michael Pastor, the jurist who thus far has kept the trial on time and interruption free. He has a standing order to legal counsel to come prepared.
Pastor is no nonsense, said NBC4 legal analyst Royal Oakes.
"He's very conscious of the fact that in the past, people have criticized judges in high-profile trials. It seems very clear that he wants to be very fair to the jury and fair to the lawyers, but he wants to move them along as quickly as possible without rushing them," Oakes said.
A one-time member of the LA City Attorney's office, the New York native was appointed to the bench by Jerry Brown during his first tenure as governor back in 1983.
Pastor has had his share of high-profile cases, sentencing actor Jason Priestley in 2000 to five days in jail on a DUI conviction. Actress Cameron Diaz was in his court. Pastor sentenced a photographer to four years in jail for trying to extort $3 million from Diaz for topless photos he took of her when she was 19.
Of the massive LA County bench, Pastor is only one of 10 judges designated to handle so called "complex litigation long cause" cases. Attorneys from both the prosecution and defense said he has the right balance between running a tight ship and being cordial to all parties.
"Judge Pastor's hallmark really is preparation. He wants to know the case better than the lawyers, better than the witnesses if at all possible, because he know he has to make instantaneous judgments about admissibility of evidence and clearly, even though the trial hasn't been on too long, it's very evident that he knows his stuff and he knows this case," Oakes said.