Legends & Losers: One real conversation can change your life.

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062: Compton Superior Court Judge Kelvin Filer

August 17, 2017

Born and raised in Compton, Judge Kelvin Filer is an inspiring man who comes from a family of activists and social advocates. What are his biggest life lessons? Why is his father such a big inspiration in his life? What was it like swearing his own daughter to the Bar? On this episode, Judge Kelvin Filer joins us to share his legendary life story.

So long as you’re doing the right thing or doing your best to do the right thing, that’s really all anyone can ask. - Judge Kelvin Filer

His Father Took the Bar 48 Times

Judge Filer’s biggest inspiration is his father, a man who was very active in Compton society. Maxcy Filer was so determined to be a lawyer that it took him 48 times to pass the Bar. When he did pass in 1991, people across the world celebrated, and his story is the greatest lesson on perseverance. Even his gravestone has the words “never give up”.

Judge Filer knew Richard Williams (Serena and Venus’ Dad)

Judge Filer has been an advocate for Compton, and in the 1990s he founded the Compton Athletic Foundation, and Richard Williams came for assistance and support. Back then, Richard said his daughters would be the greatest tennis players in the world.

The toughest part of being a judge on a criminal law case is the sentencing.

When it comes to crimes like murder, so many people are affected in the process. The victim’s family suffered a loss, the defendant’s family also suffer from a crime they didn’t commit. For judges, sentencing has to be fair to the victim’s family, and take their loss into account.

Doing the right thing is something that will always work out well for you, and no matter what you do, always persevere if you have a dream. As we learned from Judge Filer and his father, don’t give up on something you believe in, even when it’s hard. At a time where so many people question our justice system, it’s a comfort to know that someone as honorable, humble and dedicated sits on that bench.

Guest Bio

Kelvin D. Filer is a judge for the Superior Court of Los Angeles County in California. He was appointed by Governor Gray Davis on August 8, 2002. He received a bachelor's degree from University of California at Santa Cruz in 1977 and a J.D. from University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law in 1980.