Thursday, April 11, 2013
Superior Court Judge Victor L. Wright to Seek CJA Presidency
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victor L. Wright told the MetNews yesterday that he will seek to increase public awareness of the courts and the impact of budget cuts on the lives of ordinary citizens, if he is successful in his bid to become president of the California Judges Association.
Wright, 46, was nominated for the presidency at CJA’s mid-year meeting last weekend. The group’s executive board will vote in June, and the winner will take office in October for a one-year term.
His opponent will be Butte Superior Court Judge Rob Glusman, currently one of two vice presidents. Glusman and San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Barbara Kronlund beat out Wright last year for those positions.
‘A Good Person’
Wright called his opponent “a good person” and said Glusman would represent CJA, which he called a “great organization” well.
While the CJA president is primarily expected to interface with other judges and political leaders, he said, he also hopes to “educate people about the issues that affect the judiciary.”
Budget cutbacks, he said, will affect citizens all over the state, whether they live in urban or rural areas, as they discover how far they have to travel to deal with a small claims or traffic case, or how difficult it will be to resolve a business dispute, or that certain courts will be closed on certain days.
“There’s got to be a better way to bring more people into the discussion,” he commented, while acknowledging that the president’s one-year term is “not a whole lot of time” to get things done.
Representing “the courts, and not [just] the judges association” to the general public, he said, would be an extension of what he already does. The Inglewood-based jurist noted that he gets around the county a good bit, speaking to church, school and youth groups and African-American organizations.
Working in positions of leadership, he commented, is “never easy.” But his own background is one of meeting challenges, he explained.
Wright grew up in Compton, leaving at 15 years of age to attend Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, he said. He was on scholarship, he said yesterday, and there was no way his family could afford to come East for visits, and he knew that if he got homesick and left, there would not be a similar opportunity in the future.
“My parents told me never to back down from a challenge,” he said.
Yale Law Graduate
He came back to the West Coast to attend USC, majoring in journalism, then graduated from Yale Law School before returning again to start his career in 1991.
After 18 months as an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, he joined the County Counsel’s Office in 1993. He served in a variety of roles, eventually earning a promotion to principal deputy.
He spent his last three years there advising the Sheriff’s Department, before then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tapped him for the bench in 2006.
Wright added that he hopes to have a non-adversarial relationship with the younger and smaller Alliance of California Judges, a group that does not always see eye-to-eye with CJA.
‘Diversity of Voices’
“I want to see a recognition that there is a diversity of voices out there,” he said, saying he would be happy to work with the alliance in order to “do what’s best for all judges.”
The state’s judges are like a family, he philosophized. “A family can disagree, but you do what’s best for the family.”
Two other local jurists were nominated for CJA executive offices.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench is opposed by retired Shasta Superior Court Judge Gregory Caskey and San Diego Superior Court Judge Joan Weber in the contest for the two vice presidencies, while Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michele Flurer is running unopposed for secretary/treasurer.
Copyright 2013, Metropolitan News Company