Judge David S. Cunningham
Now comes Judge Cunningham whose achievements as a lawyer and his long standing service to the community has prepared him to continue his commitment of serving the people.
David S. Cunningham III has been a fixture in the community for over three decades as a lawyer and a community servant. In 2001, he was appointed as a member of the Los Angeles Police Commission and eventually became its president. While on the commission, he dealt with several high-profile issues regarding police shootings and the use of excessive force, and worked to institute changes in the department’s policies as they relate to proper policing and good community relations.
LAPD Commissioner John Mack, who followed Judge Cunningham as one of the police commissioners said, “I think the appointment of Judge Cunningham III to the Superior Court is an excellent move and represents a great choice. I had the opportunity of working with him initially when he served as a very outstanding and committed member of the Los Angeles Urban League board during my tenure as president of the League. He demonstrated a strong commitment to the community, a deep commitment to justice and later on, he preceded me as a member of the police commission.” Commissioner Mack seemed to mirror some of the changes that his predecessor implemented while he was on the commission, laying the groundwork for those who follow.
“Every step of the way, he has demonstrated himself to be an outstanding legal mind,” Mack continued, “With a great judicial temperament and I think he will bring the kind of balance that we need to make sure that he interprets the law as it is. In my opinion, he will also have a real sensitivity some of the challenges and issues the African American community have had to deal with in our experiences with the criminal justice system.”
In trying to learn how Cunningham arrived at his judicial temperament and his commitment to the community, the Sentinel reached out to former Los Angeles Councilman David Cunningham, Jr., the judge’s father, who stated emphatically, “I’m really honored by his appointment; I really believe that he will be a very excellent judge. He has always had the judicious attitude about his approach to decision-making. He’s always been a lover of the law and a number one student of the law. So I’m really proud as any father would be.”
In projecting the work that lay ahead for Cunningham, it is not difficult to predict the quality of his judgeship. He has a sterling legal background since graduating from law school. And the caliber of those whose attended the judicial swearing-in ceremony highlights Cunningham’s integrity, including the Honorable Terry Hatcher, the federal judge for whom Cunningham served as a research clerk, assistant LAPD Chief Earl Paysinger and assistant Sheriff Paul K. Tanaka, who is also the Mayor of Gardena.
Those who came to wish him well forebode the bright future ahead for Judge Cunningham as a member of the Los Angeles Superior Court.