Friday, April 23, 2010
Commissioner Lori-Ann Jones to Retire at End of Month
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Lori-Ann C. Jones is retiring April 30, a court spokesperson and the commissioner both told the MetNews yesterday.
Jones, who has been on paid administrative leave since Sept. 18 of last year, declined to comment beyond confirming that she had sent her retirement letter to the presiding judge. She said she may have an announcement later regarding her future plans.
While the court has never publicly explained the reason for placing Jones on leave, she said at the time that her superiors were “doing what they need to do.”
The action followed the release of Jones’ June 17 testimony before the grand jury looking into allegations that Deputy District Attorney Serena Murrillo was offered a bribe to drop out of the contest for a Los Angeles Superior Court judgeship ultimately won by Judge Harvey Silberman. -Jones testified pursuant to an immunity agreement that she had met with political consultant Evelyn Jerome Alexander at Jones’ home on Feb. 10, 2008.
Alexander and her partner, Randy Steinberg, are co-defendants with Silberman and are awaiting trial on felony charges of offering Murillo an inducement to drop out of the race. Alexander had previously represented Jones as a judicial candidate in 2006, her second bid for election to the bench.
Jones said she was considering hiring Alexander’s firm for another run. She testified that she knew that Alexander and Steinberg were representing Silberman, so that if she hired them, she could not run for the same seat.
Jones said that in addition to several other candidates and potential candidates, she spoke to Murillo, who said she could not afford to move out of the race, because she had already paid the nearly $1,800 filing fee.
In the second conversation, Jones testified, she told Murillo that Silberman was prepared to pay her filing fee for an alternative race. Jones also admitted that she had told district attorney investigators that Silberman did not offer any money to Murillo.
She said that, she told the grand jury, because she “decided I didn’t want to be in the conversation anymore, because it was getting too weird.”
Jones, a onetime Air Force ROTC cadet, was a deputy district attorney for 17 years before the court’s judges elected her a commissioner. She prosecuted a number of homicides and other serious felony cases, winding up her career in Compton after having worked downtown and in Whittier, Bellflower, Pomona, Inglewood, Torrance and Lynwood, and in the Hardcore Gang and Family Violence divisions.
She graduated from Sacramento’s McGeorge School of Law.
Jones grew up in South Central Los Angeles, the daughter of a former soldier who became a career officer with the Los Angeles Unified School District police.
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