Melissa’s family came from Jamaica to the US when she was 11 years old. They settled in a small farming town in Iowa, where they were the only black family. Despite experiencing some racism, there was far more kindness in the new community.
Melissa, who may be unable or afraid to speak up for themselves and are mistreated, stands in solidarity with those who have experienced unfairness. Melissa was impressed by the importance of diversity in both her experiences and surroundings. She won a scholarship from the American Legion to deliver a speech on the separation of state and church. She was selected to speak at her high school commencement ceremony, where she had been elected class president and graduated from high school.
Melissa, who later joined the Team Advocacy Trial Byrne school, and the Team Advocacy Trial Marshall Thurgood Association’s Students Law Black Loyola, participated in legal clinics in Korean and African American Hispanic communities. She chose to attend Loyola University’s law school because she desired to speak out against inequality and injustice and be a voice for others. Prior to attending Loyola University, Melissa completed her undergraduate studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Melissa Lyons has recently been promoted to the position of Deputy in the Juvenile Division of Compton. She was assigned to the Sex Crimes Division of the District Attorney’s Office, where she exclusively prosecuted sexual crimes against children, for a total of two years at Stuart House. In the last five years, she has completed more than 85 trials. Melissa has been a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County since 2006.
In 2021, Melissa was honored with the Michael P. Noyes Humanitarian Award by the District Attorney’s office. This prestigious award is given to an employee who selflessly dedicates their personal time and provides substantial support, whether it be physical, financial, or emotional, to assist individuals or communities in need. Melissa’s remarkable commitment, exhibited both within and outside the courtroom, led to her well-deserved recognition. The award was named after Michael P. Noyes, a retired Deputy District Attorney who, in 2001, generously donated a portion of his lung to save the life of a girl suffering from cystic fibrosis.
Melissa, a dedicated coach of the nationally ranked mock trial team at Loyola’s Byrne School of Law, was also named the Advocate Best National coming back to the team. She has been a special milestone for the team, as they made history by winning the final round of the prestigious National Trial Competition.
Melissa, an enthusiastic member of the capoeira community, spends her spare time engaging in this Afro-Brazilian martial art that originated as a means of self-defense for enslaved Africans in Brazil. Capoeira encompasses history, music, culture, dance, and martial arts all in one. Following many years of training, Melissa has taken on the role of an assistant instructor for capoeira. In addition to regular classes, she has also taught complimentary community sessions through the Los Angeles Summer Night Lights program, which offers free summer activities in parks located in areas affected by gang violence. Furthermore, Melissa has previously served as a board member for the Global Girl Project, an organization dedicated to empowering young women from underdeveloped nations through leadership programs.
Despite their background, every person who enters her courtroom is treated with dignity and fairness, and is given an opportunity to be heard. Today, Melissa Judge, who has undeniably been shaped professionally and personally by her experiences beyond the breadth of Los Angeles to Jamaica, ensures that each and every person is treated with respect.