McGeorge School of Law

L.A. Prosecutors Win Superior Court Seats

June 7, 2012

Two McGeorge graduates with stellar careers as deputy district attorneys won open seats on the Los Angeles County Superior Court bench on June 5, 2012, and an alumna appears to have upended a sitting judge in Kings County.

Andrea Thompson, '84, took 54.7 percent of the vote in a race for L.A. Superior Court Office No. 65, avoiding a possible runoff in a three-person race. Thompson served the D.A.'s office for 27 years in in numerous capacities, including homicide prosecutor and Victim Impact Program coordinator.

Sean Coen, '99, captured Superior Court Office No. 3 with 51.4 percent of the vote in a four-person race. He has served for 12 years in the D.A.'s office, where he has been a member of its Hardcore Gang Unit since 2007. During that time, he prosecuted more than 100 felony cases, 17 of which were homicides. Coen will be sworn in next January by veteran Judge Ronald Coen, giving Los Angeles a rare father-son combination on the bench.

In Kings County, attorney Jennifer Giuliani, '92, holds a 50-vote lead over an incumbent judge pending a recount. She has practiced family and juvenile law in her native Hanford for 15 years.

Another McGeorge alumnus is assured of securing a Sutter County Superior Court seat in November. Sarah Heckman, '99, and Jud Waggoman, '90, finished one-two in a wild, nine-person battle for an open seat at the Yuba City courthouse. Heckman, the county director of family court services, won 26 percent of the vote while Waggoman, a Marysville attorney, took 14.2%. They will face each other in a November general election runoff. Two other alums, Michael Trezza, '89, and former Judge Al Carrion, '70, finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in that contest.

In Alameda County, San Francisco attorney and Oakland resident Andrew Wiener, '83, made the November runoff for an open seat with a 31 percent showing but will be a decided underdog against another candidate who garnered 49 percent of the vote in a three-way race.

Yuba County, business attorney and real estate broker Courtney McAlister, '00, picked up a respectable 33 percent of the vote, but it wasn't enough to prevent another candidate from winning the majority of the ballots cast. Sacramento attorney Julius Engel, '88, was third in that contest.

In Riverside County, Indio attorney Tom Eckhardt, '82, garnered 37 percent of the vote, but lost his bid to unseat an incumbent judge. In Yolo County, deputy district attorney Clinton Parish, '00, LLM '02, also suffered defeat at the hands of a sitting judge.