Obama names East Bay judge to national council

President Barack Obama announced today he’s appointing Alameda County Superior Court Judge Trina Thompson, who presides over the county’s Juvenile Court, to serve on the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

An independent body within the executive branch, the council coordinates federal juvenile delinquency prevention programs, federal programs and activities that detain or care for unaccompanied juveniles, and federal programs relating to missing and exploited children. It consists of nine ex officio members and nine non-federal members chaired by the U.S. Attorney General, and meets quarterly or at the chair’s call.

Trina ThompsonThompson, 50, first was elected to the bench in November 2002 – the first African American woman ever elected to the county’s Superior Court – and was sworn into office in January 2003. Before taking over the Juvenile Court last year, she presided over felony jury trials, adult truancy court, and was responsible along with one of her colleagues for managing the court’s domestic violence calendar.

Thompson in 2001 had been appointed as a Juvenile Court Commissioner, responsible for hearing juvenile delinquency and dependency matters; she also chaired of the Alameda County Educational Task Force for the juvenile court to ensure the education of state-raised children.

Earlier, Thompson managed a private criminal defense practice from 1991 to 2000, focusing on juvenile, misdemeanor, felony and capital defense trials, and was a public defender in Alameda County from 1987 to 1991. The mother of two, who grew up in Oakland and Vallejo, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a law degree from Cal’s Boalt Hall School of Law.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, praised the appointment.

“Judge Thompson has earned tremendous respect for her insight and sensitivity in dealing with juvenile justice issues,” Lee said, and “will bring a wealth of experience as we examine how federal programs can be more effectively coordinated among federal, state and local government to better serve our at-risk youth.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Wow,

    What a great honor for Judge Thompson and for Alameda County! I am so proud of her passion for working on behalf of our young people and I am affirming my commitment to being partner however possible.

    Olis Simmons
    Founder & President
    Youth UpRising

  • I am delighted and excited! Judge Thompson is definitely the right person for the job. CASA staff and volunteers look forward to helping her advance her mission of making positive changes for youth in our communities. We are proud and excited to be in partnership.

    Ginni Ring
    Executive Director
    Alameda County CASA Program

  • Gloria Ramirez

    WOW! Not surprised at all. She is the most hard working presiding judge I have ever had to pleasure to work with. She advocates for the juveniles and their families; spends countless hours of her own time attending minors’ football games, going to schools, etc. She is a true asset to the Council and I expect she will exceed the President’s expectations! Impressive.

  • Dr. Rosemary S. Darden

    The appointment is an honor for Judge Trina Thompson and an opportunity for the community to meet the present challenges. I have worked with Judge Thompson in two venues, The Oakland Rotary Club and the Alameda County Commission for Juvenile Justice/Delinquency
    Prevention. She is a dynamo.

  • Kudos for Judge Thompson. I’ve worked with her and she’s been terrific. She’s certainly an advocate for our youth. She’s got great ideas and great energy. I know she’ll be an asset to the Coordinating Council.

    Dr. Joe Marshall
    Founder/Executive Director
    Omega Boys Club/Street Soldiers
    Host–Street Soldiers radio show

  • As a Child Welfare Worker who has been in Court with
    Judge Thompson on many occassions, I have experienced how she advocates for all of our youths, their families and those that work so diligently to serve them.

    I look forward to watching as she continues to demonstrate her ongoing commitment as an advocate for our youth and a member of the Coordinating Council.
    An excellent selection.
    Johnnie Caston, CWW
    Alameda County Social Services Agency