Thursday, September 9, 2010
Edmon, Wesley Unanimously Elected to Lead Superior Court
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Assistant Presiding Judge Lee S. Edmon and Judge David S. Wesley were unanimously selected as the court’s presiding and assistant presiding judges, respectively, for 2011 and 2012, court officials said yesterday.
Wesley, who was unopposed, said he had decided to run “for the privilege of working with Lee Edmon,” who, in keeping with court tradition, was elected presiding judge without contest after serving two years as assistant presiding judge and could not be reached for comment yesterday.
“We’re very good friends and I admire her a lot,” Wesley said. And while he acknowledged the judiciary’s ongoing fiscal woes, he explained “with all the problems facing us, if [Edmon] was willing to be the PJ and take on those burdens, I felt it was my responsibility…to put my name in as APJ.”
Both are scheduled to take office Jan.1.
Wesley emphasized that “my job will be to support Lee Edmon in her plans” for the next two years, but that “we both agree that we would like to encourage cohesiveness on our court and provide as many resources as we can to our own judges and maintain service the public.”
While Wesley and Edmon are both members of the state Judicial Council, which has been sharply criticized by the Alliance of California Judges, Wesley said, “I hope to work with the alliance also in providing all the citizens of California with the best possible judiciary.” He added that he has already met with several members of the dissident organization and they “had some very good ideas worth looking at.”
California Chief Justice Ronald M. George yesterday remarked that Wesley and Edmon were both “extremely valuable members of the Judicial Council” and predicted that they “will give excellent leadership to the Los Angeles Superior Court.”
George added that Wesley “really excelled” in co-leading a task force the chief justice created two years ago to ease the backlog in the Riverside Superior Court, “so I was very pleased to see [Wesley] enter into the leadership ranks of the Los Angeles Superior Court, which of course is my alma mater, so I have a continuing interest in the fine quality of leadership that the court has had.”
The chief justice, who is leaving office at the end of the year, noted that he and outgoing Presiding Judge Charles W. McCoy “really had our differences from time to time, but we got along really well and respected each other, and I certainly expect the same with Judge Edmon and Judge Wesley.”
McCoy told the MetNews that he was “thrilled” to be succeeded by Edmon and, presumptively, by Wesley.
“In her roles as assistant presiding judge...and as a member of the California Judicial Council, Lee Edmon has proved herself an extraordinarily wise, capable and courageous leader,” McCoy said. “Judge Wesley has done the same, both as a member of the Judicial Council and also in his former role as supervising judge of the criminal courts.”
Wesley joined the Superior Court bench in 1997 and is currently assigned to a complex felony trial court. He served as acting supervising judge of the criminal courts briefly in 2008 and in 2001, and as supervising judge from 2003 until 2007.
He also is a member of the court’s Executive cCmmittee and director of the Los Angeles Teen Court Program.
Before he became a judge, he served as a court commissioner, a post to which the court’s judges elected him in 1995. He was a State Bar Court hearing judge from 1993 to 1995, having previously practiced as a deputy public defender and with a private firm.
The Judicial Council named him Jurist of the Year in 2008 in recognition of his work on the task force addressing the Riverside Superior Court’s backlog.
Edmon was elected assistant presiding judge without contest in 2008 after serving as supervising judge of the court’s civil departments and will be the first female presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court.
She was appointed to the bench by then-Gov. Gray Davis in 2000 after spending 13 years with the international corporate law firm of Dewey Ballantine LLP (now Dewey LaBoeuf).
The jurist is a former president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association Barristers, and the American Bar Association’s nonprofit affiliate, the American Bar Endowment.
In 2006 Edmon was named the Alfred J. McCourtney Trial Judge of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company