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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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Los Angeles County Superior CourtCandidate for Judge, Seat 146

Photo of Emily Theresa Spear

Emily Theresa Spear

Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles
661,775 votes (61.85%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • I shall continue to protect and preserve the safety and dignity of the public, especially the most vulnerable among us.
  • I shall see that justice is dispensed in a fair, equitable, and transparent manner that is respectful to all litigants and encourages public respect for the bench.
  • I shall work to ensure that the public has access to justice and to a judge who understands that she is there to serve you.



Profession:Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles
Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles (2007–current)
Sex Crimes and Child Molestation Prosecutor, Los Angeles County (2007–current)
Attorney, Taylor Blessey, LLP (2005–2007)


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Law Juris Doctor, Law (2005)
Oxford University Ceritficate, Comparative Intellectual Property Law (2003)
University of Illinois Bachelor of Science, Psychology (2002)

Community Activities

Volunteer working with kids who are victims of molestation or violence., Pet Prescription Team (2017–current)
Comfort dog handler for victims of molestation and sexual abuse., Pet Prescription Team (2017–current)
Treasurer raising money for leukemia research., Run for Gloria (2010–2010)
Executive Committee member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, International Section (2003–2007)



  • Prosecuting rapists, child murders and molesters, and gangs
  • Over  59 complex litigation felony trials to verdict
  • 2014 Deputy District Attorney of the Year
  • Train with support dog to comfort child molestation victims


I graduated from the University of Illinois in 2 and 1/2 years with a degree in psychology. I graduated from the University of Illinois - College of Law in 2005 with a Juris Doctorate and a Certificate in Comparative Intellectual Property from Oxford University. I worked in the private sector for several years before joining the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.  I  spent several years working in the Victim Impact Program, a special victims unit focusing on sex crimes, crimes against children and domestic violence. I am currently assigned to the Sex Crimes division, a special unit in downtown Los Angeles.


In my eleven years as a Deputy District Attorney, I have handled 58 jury trials, one complex court trial involving three counts of infanticide, and over a dozen juvenile adjudications. My cases have included some of the most serious and complex crimes in our office including multiple special circumstance murders, serial rapists, gang shootings and child molestation.


In the case of People versus Carol Coronado, defendant Coronado killed her three infant daughters. Defendant Coronado pled not guilty by reason of insanity. After a month long trial, defendant Coronado was found guilty and was found to be sane during the commission of the murders. She was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. 


In 2014, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys awarded me Deputy District Attorney of the Year in recognition of my work trying several challenging cases including People versus Julian Carter. Defendant Carter stabbed to death his 5-year-old niece. He too pled not guilty by reason of insanity. After trial, he was found guilty and sane and sentenced to life in prison. As a result of these experiences, I have provided training lectures and advisement to other Deputy District Attorneys and Law Enforcement from multiple counties on insanity pleas. I have also trained the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on search and seizure issues.


On a personal note, I was raised just outside Chicago, Illinois. My parents are both retired teachers and my two siblings work in finance and law. In 2005, after law school, I moved to Los Angeles with my husband, Chris, who works as a Spacecraft Engineer. We have two young, energetic sons. 

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (3)

  • Long Beach Peace Officer's Association
  • Los Angeles Police Protective League
  • Association of Deputy District Attorneys

Elected Officials (11)

  • Judge Arthur Lew
  • Judge Philip Mautino
  • Judge Eleanor Hunter
  • Judge Teresa Magno
  • Judge Ricardo Ocampo
  • Judge Lynn Olson
  • Judge Julian Recana
  • Judge Carol Najera
  • Judge Christopher Frisco
  • Judge Pat Connolly
  • Judge Armenui (Amy) Ashvanian

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of Los Angeles County (3)

What criteria are most important for voters to use in evaluating judicial candidates?
Answer from Emily Theresa Spear:

There are a myriad of criteria that are important for voters to use in evaluating judicial candidates. These include character, integrity, judicial temperament, education, and professionalism to name a few. However, no one criteria should be viewed as more important than another.


A candidate for judge must, by the nature of the job, be an individual of good character who is extremely knowledgeable of the law. What sets one candidate apart from another is how they have practiced that law in the past. I have spent my career prosecuting those who sexually prey upon children and women and as a result of this practice, I believe I have developed insight and patience in dealing with people. I believe these traits would be invaluable to any judge.  

How can courts and judges better assure that all people have adequate access to legal help and the legal system?
Answer from Emily Theresa Spear:

Courts and judges can assure better access to the legal system by increasing funding for the self-help centers. These provide women and children who are in need of immediate legal protection with aid in filing restraining orders and other legal documents that they otherwise could not afford to do.

Judges should ensure that all victims and witnesses feel safe to come to court. Judges can be diligent in seeing that all litigants have access to the resources that they not only need, but are entitled to by law. For example in criminal cases, litigants are entitled to access to appointed lawyers and in some cases investigators and mental health professionals. In some civil and family law cases, litigants should be provided with interpreters when necessary.

Most defendants are held in County jail before trial because they are not able, due to low income or homelessness, to secure bail imposed by the Court at their arraignment.  Does California’s system of imposing bail on defendants need reform?  If so, what would you recommend?
Answer from Emily Theresa Spear:

How a judge determines bail is based on a subjective interpretation of a set of criteria. This highlights the need for judges who are temperate, level headed, and thoughtful, as whatever further reform is determined, ultimately there will be an element of subjectivity in these determinations.

Recently, the case of In re Kenneth Humphrey appears to have transformed the California bail system. Previously, bail in criminal cases was set pursuant to a bail schedule which did not take into consideration a person's ability to pay. That is no longer the law. Now a judge must consider non-monetary less restrictive means of release such as unsecured bond, home detention, and electronic monitoring. The point of bail is to both protect the public safety and ensure a defendant's presence at all court proceedings. All reform measures will involve a weighing of the facts and a determination of what factors hold sway, thus I recommend that judges be chosen who display the attributes that I stated above.

Candidate Contact Info

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