Friday, May 11, 2012
Andrea C. Thompson
Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 65
There is no unworthy candidate in the race for Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 65. But one stands out.
NDREA C. THOMPSON has 27 years of experience in the District Attorney’s Office, during which time she has performed supervisorial roles and handled prosecutions in major felony cases. She is respected by judges and lawyers—including members of the criminal defense bar—for her skill, her integrity, and her sense of fairness.
Repeatedly, her “professionalism” is cited. One internal office evaluation describes her as “the consummate professional prosecutor.”
We are impressed by Thompson’s maturity, poise, legal knowledge, astuteness, and penchant for putting in long hours.
Of pleasant disposition, she is able to work harmoniously with colleagues in her office, with opposing counsel, and with court support staff. Thompson also has a special knack for working with victims and their families, displaying sensitivity, tact, and an awareness of their needs.
In light of her experience and mental acuity, we sense that she would be a judge with near-imperviousness to flim-flamming. Upon encountering any such an effort, she would repel it calmly.
In all, we view Thompson as supremely qualified for a Los Angeles Superior Court judgeship, and we urge her election.
HANNON KNIGHT, also a deputy district attorney, is, regrettably, in the same judicial race. We would like to see Knight also attain a judgeship.
Bright, energetic, and able, she handles one successful murder prosecution after another. She has a quick wit and a sense of humor. The work she does with animal rescue projects, taking stray dogs into her home and caring for them, says something about the kind of a person she is.
We are fully in accord with the April 22 editorial in the Los Angeles Times which endorses Thompson, but declares:
“Voters who opt for Thompson, as we do, would be fortunate to also have Knight on the bench, either through a gubernatorial appointment or in a vote two years from now, if Knight does not prevail in this race.”
If Knight does not prevail in that race, we would join in urging, in light of her admirable qualities, that she be appointed to the Superior Court.
ATTHEW SCHONBRUN is the third candidate in the race. He is a deputy Los Angeles city attorney.
Schonbrun prosecutes misdemeanors; Thompson and Knight prosecute felonies. Displaying advocacy skill, he argues, with gusto, that he isn’t operating on a lower level than they because he prosecutes as misdemeanors some offenses that are so serious that they could also be prosecuted as felonies (“wobblers”). He also points out that he prosecutes offenses, such as prostitution, which many jurors don’t believe should be crimes, rendering his job harder than that of a deputy DA prosecuting someone for murder, which everyone agrees should be classed as a crime.
His contention is as absurd as would have been a contention prior to trial court unification that Municipal Court judges were performing work on the same level as Superior Court judges. They didn’t. It’s a plain fact that deputy city attorneys, overall, do not handle cases as complex or as serious as those prosecuted by deputy district attorneys.
Putting aside Schonbrun’s sophistry in arguing to the contrary, we are impressed by his intelligence and his demeanor. If he were a judge, attorneys and others would feel comfortable in his courtroom.
His potential for judicial service is high; his credentials, at present, aren’t. The state constitutional requirement for service as a Superior Court judge is 10 years of membership in the State Bar. Schonbrun will meet that criterion one day before the June 5 election—soon enough for his candidacy to be constitutionally valid, but not soon enough for him to be regarded as an ideal candidate.
It is a shame that municipal courts no longer exist. In that arena, lawyers who were not seasoned but seemed to have the wherewithal to be judges—as Schonbrun does—could be tested in a limited judicial capacity, given experience, and, if they evidenced proficiency, elevated. However, the demise of the municipal courts is one of the several unfortunate legacies of the administration of the state’s immediate past chief justice.
We would readily endorse Schonbrun for election to the Superior Court were his competitors unworthy of the office. In this election, however, he has one adversary who is highly suited to the office, as we see it, and another who would be an excellent selection if she were not up against a champ.
WE ENTHUSIASTICALLY ENDORSE THOMPSON for election on June 5, but would also welcome the addition of both of her adversaries to the Los Angeles Superior Court in the future.
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company