Monday, January 10, 2011

5. Meet Justice Cooper

Allow me to introduce you to Justice Candace Cooper, retired 2/8 Presiding Justice and current JAMS neutral.

Criteria Match:  Governor Brown appointed Justice Cooper to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1980.  Governor Davis elevated her to the 2/2 Court of Appeal in 1999 “in his first group of judicial appointments before selecting her again two years later to become presiding justice of the newly created Div. Eight.”  News reports place her age as 63.

Bonus Criteria Match.  Justice Cooper is African-American.

Credentials.  Justice Cooper attended USC for college and law school.  She practiced law at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher until her appointment to the bench.

Other judges repeatedly turned to Justice Cooper for leadership and guidance. She was President of the California Judges Association, where she was the second African-American and the second woman to head the California judicial officers’ professional association. She long taught judicial officers for the Continuing Judicial Studies Program, the Judicial College, and the New Judges Orientation.  She also served on the Judicial Council, overseeing judicial compensation issues, efforts to eliminate bias in the administration of justice

Justice Cooper is deeply involved with the USC Law Center, serving on its Board of Councilors (Chair, 2001–2003) and having served on the General Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Her awards include: 
  • Roger J. Traynor Memorial Award, Appellate Justice of the Year, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, 2003
  • Bernard S. Jefferson Judge of the Year Award, California Association of Black Lawyers, 2002
  • Crystal Heart Award, Loved Ones of Homicide Victims, 2000
  • Justice Joan Dempsey Klein Distinguished Judge Award, California Women Lawyers, 1997
  • Alumni Merit Award, University of Southern California, General Alumni Association, 1994
  • Outstanding Trial Jurist, Los Angeles County Bar Association, 1992-1993
  • Criminal Court Judge of the Year, Century City Bar Association, 1992
  • Silver Achievement Award, Los Angeles Y.W.C.A., 1991
  • Superior Court Judge of the Year, Los Angeles County Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, 1990
  • Ernestine Stalhut Award, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, 1989
  • “Judge of the Year,” Langston Bar Association in 1986.
Justice Cooper told the MetNews in 2008 she was retiring from the court "to provide financial support to her daughter who will soon enter college."  After a couple successful years in the private sector, Justice Cooper may be ready to return to public service.