Judicial candidate Melissa Lyons has a different perspective as she sees the application of justice upfront in her current role as LA County Deputy District Attorney
By Nick Antonicello
Melissa Lyons is an incredibly talented and qualified individual with a unique story to tell as she enters the runoff stage of her campaign to become a LA County Judge!
Originally from Jamaica via Iowa to Los Angeles, Lyons possesses the skill set, personality and temperament to succeed from the bench in this new role should voters select her this November.
A martial arts expert who is a passionate member of the Capoeira community, this specialized self-defense aficionado is passionate not just about the law, but history, music, culture and overall love of life that was clear in our interview last week.
For Melissa Lyons represents a new brand of qualified court leadership in our halls of justice.
Lyons, a first-time candidate for public office garnered 35.28% of the vote or 452,247 votes in the June 7th Primary that sees her now matched up with Leslie Gutierrez who narrowly finished second with 27.76% or 355,881 votes.
The 42-year old Leimert Park homeowner active in her college sorority is a 2001 graduate of Northwestern University with a BS in Communication Studies and a 2005 graduate of Loyola Law School where she was a National Champion in trial competition as well as National Best Advocate for the same. Lyons joined the Legal Aid Foundation of LA out of law school where she represented clients in administrative law hearings before joining the Law Office of David J. Duchrow in 2004 where she remained until joining the LA County District Attorney’s office in 2006.
A winner of the Michael P. Noyes Humanitarian Award, it is named after DA Michael P. Noyes who in 2001 donated part of his lung to a girl whose life was threatened by cystic fibrosis.
For Melissa Lyons comes from a family that expects and demands hard work and success.
With three brothers and one sister, of which two are doctors, Melissa’s Dad is also a doctor and mom and accountant. The oldest of five children, Lyons explained that “receiving an education was pounded into us” by her parents and she was glad and thankful for that kind of positive upbringing.
Endorsed by the LA Times, Lyons has been deemed “well qualified” by her legal peers as she stresses her community-involved advocacy to voters on the campaign trail.
Having spent about $30,000 thus far in the June Primary, Lyons believes she will need to raise another $20,000 or so to remain competitive in the fall contest.
Stressing “temperament and patience,” Lyons believes being a judge is about calling balls and strikes, and being a referee of sorts with the cases that will be brought before her should she be successful.
“One must see the totality of the picture which is victims and their families.”
For her calling to public service runs deep within her character.
“I can be fair,” noted the Deputy DA.
Lyons spoke about jury service and the challenges to the juror.
She says she would support changes that make jury service a “friendly concept” and is fully aware that service can be an interruption of someone’s life.
For the Melissa Lyons approach to the bench will be even-keeled, and take a “step back because it is not about me.”
“I will offer objectivity and take emotion out of it. I understand the impact of sentencing and will provide justice,” said the first-time judicial hopeful.
Lyons emphasized the notion of listening.
“There will be a dedication to justice. I will listen and be open-minded. I won’t miss the things in front of me.”
Lyons understood that people are intrigued by judges and the courts as witnessed by the popularity of television shows like “Judge Judy,” that impact the public’s perception of justice.
Lyons noted some judges “are less than compassionate,” and understood the cost of going to trial can make or break and individual financially speaking.
While Lyons is certainly no politician, she does like the “checks and balances” of campaigning that affords voters the opportunity to weigh-in on who serves on the bench.
Lyons is proud to state she is “the first lawyer in my family.”
Her career path from DA to potentially a LA County Judge was not on her professional radar in hindsight.
“We have a foundation for justice. The system can be for all people.”
With her breadth of experience not just professionally, but an individual with a unique cultural and worldview condition, Lyons promises that each and every person who comes before her will be given the opportunity to be heard and treated with fairness and dignity regardless of their background and that’s the kind of thinking LA needs in this era of crisis and contempt for the foundations of justice and democracy.
To learn more about Melissa Lyons, visit her candidacy online at: www.MelissaLyons4Judge.com
Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian who is covering many of the judicial ballot races come November and how these contests impact Venice. To reach him, contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org