February 22, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Column: Public Service Is Her Calling!

Judicial Candidate Melissa Renee Hammond spent her life planning for this moment, to serve as a Judge of the Superior Court of Los Angeles, #118. Garners 29.50% of the June 7th Primary Vote, now faces progressive/ labor attorney Carolyn Park in November General Election!

By Nick Antonicello 

Judicial hopeful Melissa Renee Hammond knew she wanted to be a judge early on in life when her Dad, a criminal defense attorney would take her to court with him and observe the wheels of justice first-hand. 

“The focus of my life was to contribute to my community,” noted Hammond, who finished first in the June 7th Primary with 29.50% or 377,672 votes. She is now facing Carolyn Park, a labor attorney who was a surprise, second-place finisher with 22.52% or 288,424 votes. 

In a competitive and crowded June 7th Primary that included Keith Koyano (16.95%), Georgia Huerta (15.11%) and Klint McKay (13.82%), Hammond is relying on friends and family to win the general election. 

But Hammond believes her record of proven experience is the difference between her and Park. 

And none of the eliminated candidates mentioned have made an endorsement of Hammond or Park to date.

In the June Primary Hammond spent about $40,000 in this countywide race for a seat on the bench and is committed to running a positive campaign about her record and resume and why she was deemed “qualified” to serve in this judicial post that is a six-year term of office. 

I asked the candidate how much this position paid and was shocked by the reply. 

“I don’t really know. I’m not running for the money, I’m running because I have a passion for public service.” 

Park has been endorsed by outgoing and retiring LA Councilmember Mike Bonin, who currently represents Venice on the City Council. 

Park was rated “unqualified” for this judicial post according to Hammond. 

In clear contrast, Hammond believes her resume and credentials make her the obvious choice in this non-partisan contest that she believes should be about qualifications and not partisan politics. 

Given Hammond’s long record of public service, is it safe to say she is truly capable, qualified and ready-to-serve? 

“I want to apply the law fairly,” as Hammond stressed a “common sense” approach to judicial service should the voters select her come the general election. 

The November general election will once again be driven by vote-by-mail participation. Some 1.3 million voters casted votes by mail and about 250,000 in-person on June 7th.

The South Bay resident, who is married with three children is running a “grass roots” effort with her husband, also a lawyer as her guide on the side while she remains the sage on the proverbial stage. 

Hammond is relying on a personal Rolodex of friends, colleagues and relatives to raise dollars on a shoe-string budget while making appearances at bar association events and other venues where voters populate. 

Hammond has a simple campaign message. 

“I believe I am experienced, fair and compassionate. I care about people and community,”  

Hammond is a member of the New York (2010) and California Bar (2004) and earned her B.A., Magna Cum Laude from the University of California, San Diego in 2001 majoring in Economics and minoring in Theatre. 

She received her law degree in 2004 from the UCLA School of Law where she served as a teaching assistant and represented the unemployed seeking unemployment benefits and lost wages. 

In 2008 Hammond graduated from the NYU School of Law in Manhattan where she received her LL.M with an emphasis in Criminal Law and Procedure. 

Hammond also worked in the film industry during college and her credits include Bowfinger, starring Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy. She also worked on The Third Wheel, with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. 

An admitted LA Dodger fan, Hammond says the campaign has prevented her from making her way out to the stadium so far this season. 

Hammond began her legal career as a summer associate and later as a Civil litigant with Brown, Winfield & Canzoneri, Inc. where she drafted motions for summary judgement as well as specializing in municipal and real estate law. Many of her clients saw business before the LA City Council where represented them at public meetings. 

Hammond joined the LA County Public Defender’s Office in 2005 where she tried numerous misdemeanor cases on behalf of criminal defendants and argued motions to suppress evidence attained in illegal search and seizures. Hammond argued for “bail reductions and own recognizance release as well as investigated cases, interviewed witnesses and consulted with experts” according to her impressive resume.

Hammond joined the LA County District Attorney’s Office as a Deputy District Attorney in 2008 where she serves under current DA George Gascon. 

Hammond handles a high-volume of felony cases and has tried several cases to verdict. Hammond has conducted probation and parole revocation hearings as well as responses to petitions for writs of habeas corpus in several murder cases. Hammond has handled violent sex crimes, child abuse and domestic violence cases too. 

She has prosecuted attempted murder and murder cases as well. 

Hammond stressed the need for “jury diversity” and believes while “no one is safe from COVID-19,” but admitted  the court system needs to remain cautious with the uptick in cases moving forward. 

With some two decades of public service, Hammond believes she is the right choice for voters to serve responsibly in this judicial capacity. 

“I believe I’m ready and my record and resume demonstrate that desire to continue to serve.”  

Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian covering the 2022 political campaigns as they effect Venice Beach. Antonicello can be reached by e-mailing him at nantoni@mindspring.com

Related Posts

Popular Coffee & Tea Franchise Opens Another Santa Monica Spot

February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024

The News Comes Four Months After the Announcement of Its Third Santa Monica Outpost By Zach Armstrong Coffee Bean &...

Culinary Bliss Awaits: Los Angeles Wine & Food Festival Debuts in Santa Monica

February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024

Santa Monica Pier Welcomes the Inaugural Los Angeles Wine & Food Festival Santa Monica is set to become the birthplace...

Amid Delays, House of Pies Sets New Opening Date for Venice Spot

February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024

For About a Year, the Development’s Construction Has Seemingly Been Inactive By Zach Armstrong House of Pies, a popular L.A....

“Women in Jazz” Event at the Moss Theater to Benefit College Scholarship Program

February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024

The Scholarship Trains Students to be Ambassadors for Antiracist Learning and Teaching Los Angeles-based jazz vocalist Amber Weekes, an alumna...

Portraiture Masterclass with Renowned Photographer Coming to Venice Beach

February 20, 2024

February 20, 2024

Participants will explore the boardwalk alongside Alan, honing their creativity and engaging with the local community. Renowned photographer Alan Shapiro...

Yo! Venice Interviews Renee Rose for Judge of the L.A. Superior Court #48

February 20, 2024

February 20, 2024

An advocate for the elderly and victims of dependent adult abuse, the longtime Deputy DA views herself as the moderate...

A Sustainable “Air Taxi” Service Will Operate Out of West L.A.

February 20, 2024

February 20, 2024

Based on Images and Videos, the Aircraft’s Design Mixes a Helicopter With an Airplane By Zach Armstrong Los Angeles is...

“20’s/20s” Exhibit at ARCANE to Showcase Emerging Artists’ Work

February 19, 2024

February 19, 2024

The Featured Artists Were All in Their Twenties During the 2020s ARCANE Space is set to host an exhibition showcasing...

(Letter to Editor) Re: New RV Encampments in Del Rey

February 19, 2024

February 19, 2024

A Situation Emerged That Is Unnecessary and That Los Angeles Has the Laws, Money and Assets to Remedy By Clark...

Los Angeles Gears Up for Another Slow-Moving Storm: Residents Urged to Prepare

February 19, 2024

February 19, 2024

National Weather Service Issues Flood Watch for Los Angeles County Even though Los Angeles County is still recovering from the...

Two Bedroom Santa Monica Condo Lists for $9.5M

February 19, 2024

February 19, 2024

Originally established in 1928 and meticulously reconstructed in 1996, El Tovar By The Sea stands as an architectural masterpiece Originally...

Single-Story Bungalow + Glass Loft Lists for Nearly $5M

February 18, 2024

February 18, 2024

The combined living spaces span an impressive 3,704 square feet, boasting up to five bedrooms and six baths Comprising a...

Firefighters Maintain Venice Condo Fire

February 15, 2024

February 15, 2024

The property containing three separate two-story condos  A fire damaged a condominium in Venice on Wednesday, but the swift response...

Emerging New RV Encampment Compromises Del Rey Neighborhood

February 15, 2024

February 15, 2024

Fourteen RVs now occupy a stretch at the 90 Marina Freeway, some for years By Nick Antonicello  A chain of...

Global Açaí Bowl & Smoothie Brand to Open Second Santa Monica Shop

February 15, 2024

February 15, 2024

News of the Opening Comes One Month After the Brand Raised $67 Million By Zach Armstrong Amid ambitious U.S. growth,...