Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, October 8, 2020


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Jessner Elected Superior Court Assistant Presiding Judge

Will Serve in Administration of Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor in 2021, 2022; if Tradition Holds, Will Be Court’s Presiding Judge in 2023, 2024


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Samantha P. Jessner has been elected assistant presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court for 2021 and 2022, according to the counting of ballots yesterday, and, if tradition is followed, will be elected without opposition as presiding judge for the following two years.




Presiding judge-Elect


She defeated Judge Stuart Rice, a former president of the California Judges Association.

The ballots were counted by three former presiding judges: Victor E. Chavez, J. Stephen Czuleger and William A. MacLaughlin. They were the judges with the greatest seniority who were available to perform the task.

Jessner will serve as assistant presiding judge during Judge Eric C. Taylor’s administration as presiding judge. They will take office Jan. 1.

Jessner Comments

“I am humbled by my colleagues’ support of my candidacy,” Jessner said. “I am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to lead the Los Angeles Superior Court through and beyond these challenging times, and I look forward to working with Judge Taylor to provide equal access to justice.”

The current presiding judge, Kevin Brazile, said in an email to bench officers yesterday:

“We are in good hands with the team of Judge Taylor and Judge Jessner.

“I also wish to deeply thank Judge Stuart Rice for his dedication to our Court and the professional campaigns he and Judge Jessner conducted.”

Schwarzenegger Appointee

Jessner was appointed to the Superior Court on March 16, 2007 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

She has been supervising judge of the court’s Civil Division since Jan. 1, 2019, and was the assistant supervising judge of the division for two years before that. Jessner has also served as assistant supervising judge in the Criminal Division and supervising judge of the Mental Health Courthouse.

In November, 2016 Jessner was appointed by the California Supreme Court to a four-year term on the Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions. She has also served on the Judicial Council’s Information Technology Advisory Committee and the Civil Jury Instructions Committee.

The judge is a founding member of the Association of African American California Judicial Officers.

Jessner received her law degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991. After her admission to the State Bar, she joined the law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, then became an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California in 1994.

She left that office in 2000 for two years, working briefly for as counsel for The Boeing Company, then as an assistant inspector general for the Los Angeles Police Commission. Returning to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she became director of the Financial Crimes Task Force, serving in that post until her appointment to the bench.

Jessner is the daughter of former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Patricia Phillips, who gave birth to her while in law school. The judge’s husband, Gregory W. Jessner, is one of Phillips’s law partners in Phillips Jessner, a downtown Los Angeles firm.



Above are the signatures of former Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judges Victor E. Chavez, J. Stephen Czulger, annd William MacLaughlin certifying that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Samantha P. Jessner received the greater number of ballots in the contest for assistant presiding judge.

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