LOS ANGELES MUNICIPAL COURT
Veronica Simmons McBeth is the Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles Municipal Court, having been elected to this position by her colleagues in November 1997. She was appointed to the Court on July 23, 1981 by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. She was re-elected in November 1986 and again in November 1992.
Judge McBeth was born on February 23, 1947 in San Diego, California. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1972 from California State University, Los Angeles. She then attended the UCLA School of Law, where she served on the UCLA Law Review and as Editor-in-Chief of the Black Law Journal. She received her Juris Doctor degree in June 1975, and was admitted to the California Bar on December 18, 1975.
Judge McBeth worked for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office from 1975-1981. She was Trial Deputy from 1975-1976, and from 1977-1977 she was Assistant Supervising Attorney for the Van Nuys Branch. From 1977-1978, she was Special Counsel to the City Attorney. In this capacity, she proposed and later set up a special unit for domestic violence cases. She served as Director of the Domestic Violence program from 1978-1979. After this, she was Supervising Attorney for the West Los Angeles Branch from 1979-1981. Also during this time, she was President of the Black Women Lawyers Association (1979-1980), served on the boards of the Los Angeles NAACP Chapter and the California Association of Black Lawyers, and was a member of a local community group called Women on Target.
In 1997, she was unanimously elected at the Las Vegas, Nevada meeting of National Consortium of Task Forces and Commissions on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts as Moderator-Elect to take office as Moderator in 1999.
Prior to her election as Presiding Judge in November 1997, Judge McBeth served as Assistant Presiding Judge from 1996-1997, having been elected to that position in November 1995. As Assistant Presiding Judge, she also was the Supervising Judge of Central Civil. From 1994 to 1995, Judge McBeth served as the Supervising Judge of the Central Criminal Bench of the Court, appointed by the Presiding Judge.
As a Judge of the Los Angeles Municipal Court, Judge McBeth has served continuously as an elected member of the Court's Executive Committee from 1982 to the present (elected by her colleagues). She has also served as Chair of the Judges' Orientation Committee (1983-1984); Chair of the Personnel Committee (1984-1985, 1986-1987, 1987-1988, and 1993-1994); Chair of the House Arrest Committee (1986-1987); Chair of the Court's "Meet Your Judges" Community Forum Committee (1989-1991); Chair of the Indigent Criminal Defense Committee (1994-1995); Co-Chair, Attorneys' Appeals Committee 1994-1995); and current Chair of the Los Angeles Municipal Court's Committee on the Courts and the Public.
In 1988, Judge McBeth was elected Chair of the Los Angeles County Municipal Court Judges' Association. Additionally, in 1990 she was selected as President of the National Bar Association's Judicial Council, the association that represents African American judges. She has been on the Executive Board since 1985.
Judge McBeth has been a lecturer/presenter at the Presiding Judges/Court Administration Conference; California Judicial Administration Conference; Continuing Judicial Education and Research (CJER) Conferences; Municipal and Justice Courts Institute; planning committee and presenter: National Judges' College, Pennsylvania Trial Judges' Winter Conference, American Bar Association Conference of Appellate Court Judges, Greater Cleveland Trial Judges Seminar, and the Los Angeles Municipal Court's annual Judges' Conference.
Judge McBeth is a member of the National Association of Women Judges, California Judges Association, Municipal Court Judges Association of Los Angeles County, National Bar Association, and California Association of Black Lawyers (Chair, Judicial Section, 1988-1989). She served on the Board of Directors of the John M. Langston Bar Association 1985-1988.
Judge McBeth has worked tirelessly at community outreach efforts as a Judge of the Municipal Court. Her abiding interest in the law and the preservation of the rights of all citizens has led to her extensive involvement with both community and professional organizations. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Black Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County, the Board of Directors of Operation Field Trip, and the Advisory Committee of Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law. She also was appointed to the Executive Committee of the UCLA School of Law Alumni Association in 1982.
Judge McBeth has long had a personal commitment to and interest in serving the community. She has devoted her own time to working with numerous organizations, and has worked hard to inform people about how the judicial system works.
She was on the planning committee for the first-ever Statewide Community Focused Court Planning Conference held on May 13-15, 1998. This conference brought together representatives from California's 58 counties to focus their efforts on trial court planning that emphasizes community involvement. Judge McBeth has a firm belief that all judges need to take an active role in educating their community about the justice system. To that end, she tirelessly challenges her colleagues on the bench to work with their local communities to establish educational and outreach programs. In 1995, Judge McBeth served as the driving force and Chair of the First National Conference on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts to which representatives were sent from each state and federal jurisdiction. The Conference planning began in the Spring of 1993. The Planning Committee, chaired by Judge McBeth, consisted of 17 leaders, academics, and judicial staff. The Conference was sponsored by the National Center for State Courts under a grant from the State Justice Institutes, and was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from March 2-5, 1995. It was endorsed by the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators, the National Consortium of Task Forces and Commissions on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts, the National Association for Court Management, the National Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Asian Pacific Bar Association, the National Native America Bar Association, and others.
In April 1997, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M. George appointed a special Task Force on Court/Community Outreach and selected Judge McBeth as Chair of this Judicial Council Committee. The Task Force consists of judges, attorneys, and community leaders from across the state of California, and meets regularly on a monthly basis.
Judge McBeth, on October 26, 1998 received the 1998 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence from the National Center for State Courts at a reception and dinner in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court of the United States.