Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Fields, Lacey, McDonnell to Be Feted as 2014 ‘Persons of the Year’
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Long Beach Police Chief
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell, and attorney Ernestine Fields have been named Metropolitan News-Enterprise “Person of the Year” for 2014.
MetNews co-publisher Jo-Ann W. Grace commented yesterday that each of the honorees “contributes in a different way, and each mightily, to the justice system.”
Lacey has served since Dec. 3, 2012, as the county’s chief prosecutor. She was previously chief deputy to then-District Attorney Steve Cooley.
Admitted to the State Bar in 1983, she is a graduate of the law school at USC.
“Lacey is more interested in attaining goals than headlines,” Grace remarked. “Without flamboyance, she keeps a huge law office functioning smoothly.”
McDonnell has been Long Beach chief of police since March 2010. Previously, he served in the Los Angeles Police Department for 29 years, working his way up the ladder to chief of staff, second in command of the department.
Of the 51 persons designated as persons of the year, Grace noted, McDonnell is only the fifth who had not attained State Bar status. The others, she said, were Los Angeles Superior Court Executive Officer Frank Zolin and political consultant Joe Cerrell (both now deceased), then-Sheriff Lee Baca (now retired) and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.
“Law enforcement,” she said, “is an integral part of justice system, and ‘justice’ would be wanting without outstanding leaders in that field, like Jim McDonnell.”
Ernestine Fields is known as the “Teddy Bear Attorney.” Through her program, Comfort for Court Kids, every child at the Children’s Courthouse receives a teddy bear.
“The program was brilliantly conceived and is being caringly administered by a loving and generous woman, Ernestine Fields,” Grace commented.
A graduate of the San Fernando Valley College of Law, Fields has been an attorney since 1988. She has served on boards of various organizations, including the State Bar’s Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE) Commission.
Profiles of the honorees will appear in a special section of the MetNews in early January, 2015. Grace expressed the expectation that McDonnell will, by then, have a new post.
They will be presented scrolls and plaques at the 27th annual “Person of the Year” dinner, to take place on Jan. 30.
“The private club at which the dinner will be held, like other private clubs, does not permit mention of it other than in invitations,” Grace said, noting that those placing reservations online or by telephone will be told the location.
Former Los Angeles District Attorney Robert H. Philibosian, of counsel to Sheppard Mullin, will for the 18th time emcee the event.
Former persons of the year who continue to hold the basic jobs they had when feted are Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein, 1992; Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victor E. Chavez (then-assistant presiding judge) 1997; U.S. District Court Judge Ronald S.W. Lew, 1998; Antonovich, 2002; attorney John Van de Kamp (then-State Bar president), 2004; Los Angeles Superior Court Judges William MacLaughlin (then presiding judge) and J. Stephen Czuleger (then-assistant presiding judge), 2005; Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Paul A. Turner, 2006; San Fernando Valley attorney and civic leader Lee Kanon Alpert; private practitioner Gretchen Nelson (then-Los Angeles County Bar Assn. president, and Philibosian, 2007; Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lee Edmon (then-assistant presiding judge), 2008; Lawyers Philharmonic conductor and attorney Gary S. Greene, 2010; California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and former California Gov. George Deukmejian, 2011; attorney Patrick M. Kelly (then State Bar president) and retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Lawrence Crispo and Charles Horan, 2012. Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge David Wesley and bar leaders Cynthia and David Pasternak, 2013.
Former persons of the year who hold different posts now from the ones they held when honored are Court of Appeal Justice Miriam Vogel (now senior of counsel to Morrison & Foerster) and then-State Bar President Charles Vogel (now an arbitrator/mediator with JAMS), 1990; Court of Appeal Justice Norman Epstein (now presiding justice), 1994; California Attorney General (now public policy professional and commentator) Dan Lungren, 1995; Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Burke (now a member of the Amtrak Board of Directors), 2003; U.S. District Judge George Schiavelli of the Central District of California (now in law practice and mediation), 2006; Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley (now a private practitioner and a consultant) and Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich (now a private practitioner), 2009; Southwestern Law School Dean Bryant Garth (now a professor at UC Irvine School of Law), 2010.
Past honorees who are now retired are Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Billy G. Mills, 1987; Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Vaino Spencer, 1991; Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge (later Court of Appeal Presiding Justice) Robert Mallano, 1993; California Chief Justice Ronald George, 1996; Baca, 1999; Judicial Appointments Secretary Burt Pines (later a Los Angeles Superior Court judge), 2000; Deputy District Attorney Karen Nobumoto (then State Bar president), 2001; Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles W. McCoy (then presiding judge), 2008; Los Angeles County Public Defender Michael P. Judge, 2009;
Former persons of the year include eight persons who are now deceased. They are Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Mildred Lillie, 1983; California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk, 1984; Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Lester Wm. Roth, 1985; Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Parker, 1986; Zolin, 1988; then-Court of Appeal Justice Lynn “Buck” Compton, 1989; Los Angeles County Bar Assn. President John Collins, 2004; and Cerrell, 2006.
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