Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, December 17, 2003


Page 1


Mary House Will Run for Assistant Presiding Judge


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Thornton House, supervising judge of the court’s North Central and Northeast districts, will be a candidate for assistant presiding judge next year, she told the MetNews yesterday.

House said she had not wished to publicly announce her candidacy this early, but acknowledged, “I’ve committed to some people that I will be a part of the options for the leadership.”

If elected, House would become the first woman to hold the office, and would be in line to become the court’s first female presiding judge in 2007. Judge Peter D. Lichtman has also said he will be a candidate.

Judge Chris R. Conway, who sits in Norwalk, said yesterday he had considered running for the post but has decided against it. “I have ruled it out for basically personal reasons,” Conway said, citing health issues relating to a family member.

Judge Dan Oki, who faces a re-election challenge, also recently decided against running for APJ.

House said she had been asked by many colleagues to run for the office and had made the commitment to do so.

“I believe my experience will meet the needs of the court over the next few years,” she said, citing her five and one-half years of administrative experience as a supervising judge. House noted she has been supervising judge of the Northeast District for four years and the North Central District for three, and was previously assistant presiding judge of the Pasadena Municipal Court for a year and a half.

     House, named to the Pasadena court by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1996, became a Superior Court judge upon unification in 2000. She pointed out that by the time she would become presiding judge she will have served on the bench for more than a decade—a level of experience commensurate with that of others who have held the post, she said.

The supervising judge said her “varied background in terms of my judicial experience” also qualifies her for the job, citing her service on the court’s Personnel and Budget Committee, her membership on the Small Claims Advisory Committee of the Administrative Office of the Courts, and her work as an instructor at the California Judicial College.

She has also toured the state reviewing innovative judicial programs as a member of the committee which selects such programs for the AOC’s annual Kleps Awards, she said.  Calling herself a “known problem solver,” House cited her role in brokering a solution to a dispute over a plan to consolidate criminal cases at the Burbank Courthouse and civil cases at the Glendale facility.

She declared:

“Being on this court is an honor and a privilege. I would like to use the skills I’ve developed to continue its fine traditions.”

House said her gender is “probably an issue” for some of her colleagues, but said she does not expect it will prevent her candidacy from being considered on its merits.

“We are required by law to assure that everyone is treated equally,” she observed.

  House noted that beginning in January she has been assigned to a civil department at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, and will thus have accumulated some downtown experience—usual for an APJ candidate—by the time the election takes place in October.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company