Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, April 5, 2022


Page 8




 Renee Yolande Chang

Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 70



ENEE YOLANDE CHANG is the candidate who is best suited for judicial service among the five aspirants for Office No. 70.

In her last three annual office performance evaluations, she has drawn the rating of “Exceeded Expectations (Very Good).” She has a supervisorial role in Torrance, and at times has taken charge of the entire branch. Chang is hailed in the evaluations as “an outstanding leader” who motivates deputies to improve their performances, “[t]he consummate team player,” and as “a very experienced prosecutor” who has “served as a regular resource not only within, but also outside of, the office.”

Presaging an ability to perform a valuable function as a judge in quelling acrimony, the latest evaluation reports that she has “met with victims or law enforcement officers who were unhappy with a declination or the outcome of a case” and “diffused even the most difficult situations.”

Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey (2012-2020) tells us:

“I have known Renee Chang for nearly 20 years. She is a thoughtful, smart and a caring person. She cares about victims of violent crime. Based on her record in the office and my personal interactions with her, I believe she would make an excellent judge.”

Former D.A. Steve Cooley (2000-2012), rates Chang exceptionally well qualifed and says:

“She is solid and well seasoned. She has handled many important assignments in LA DA’s office. Good reputation among her peers and colleagues. Will be an excellent addition to Los Angeles Superior Court bench.”


HANG IS ANYTHING BUT BOMBASTIC. Her reserved manner causes concern on the part of one Los Angeles Superior Court judge, who says of her:

“She has always seemed somewhat insecure to me…, with a personality that is somewhat passive. I wonder if she would have the ability to make difficult decisions, to make decisions on the fly, and to establish herself as any kind of personality or any kind of leader on the bench. Nice person, smart, and capable, however….But she’d probably be fine.”

The candidate—in a communication that was not uttered in response to that critique, but is responsive to it—remarks:

“At work, I keep my head down and try to work quietly and efficiently.”

We cannot fault that approach.

Chang continues:

“I am not afraid to ask questions when I do not know the answer, but I also enjoy figuring things out for myself. In my current position, I make life altering decisions on a daily basis. I try to be as thoughtful as possible, inquire into every aspect of each case, and consider the effects on everyone involved. Ultimately, I am not afraid to make a decision and to accept responsibility for it.”

The office-seeker thus evinces a realization of what it takes to perform the role she seeks to assume.


 AM ALWAYS PREPARED TO STATE the reasons for my actions, and if shown that there is a better alternative, I change my position,” she adds.

What a welcome contrast her attitude is to that of judges—such as the now-retired David Yaffe—who have viewed their initial impressions as unassailably correct. “Most importantly, I am quick to laugh, usually at myself,” Chang says. “I try to keep a sense of humor in most situations, but my daughters think that I am the least funny member of the family, which may include the cat.”

Chang, 54, thus vows to be a judge who will not be a loudmouth, who will set forth her reasons for intended decisions, and will be amenable to changing her position if considerations countervailing those she initially relied upon are persuasively presented.

In light of her laudatory internal evaluations, the unreserved praise of her by the immediate past district attorney and her predecessor, and the high regard in which she is held by the county’s judiciary (amassing the endorsement of 62 sitting Superior Court judges), we anticipate that Chang would in fact adhere, as a judge, to the high standards to which she has declared a commitment.


HERE ARE FOUR OTHER CANDIDATES in the race: Long Beach Assistant City Prosecutor Randy Fudge, 57; Deputy Public Defender Holly L. Hancock (also known as Holly L. Hightower), 61; Downey lawyer Eric Alfonso Torices, 42; and criminal defense lawyer Matthew Vodnoy.

It is doubtful that Fudge possesses the temperament expected of a judge. See the column below.

Hancock is a delightful person but lacks succinctness. Torices is not ready for a judgeship. Vodnoy probably never will be; he lacks judgment and a sense of accountability.

Chang is, in our view, by far the worthiest candidate for this seat, and we endorse her strongly.


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