Sometimes you just know. As I took in the front page of today’s Los Angeles Times in a glance, I just knew that the unfocused face in the photo is cousin Cindy, or rather Chief Judge Cynthia Leung of the Las Vegas Municipal Court. The “Column One” article “Starting over, with help,” features the Las Vegas court’s program “Women in Need” which Cindy has overseen.
This “WIN” program suspends the jail sentences of prostitutes while they undergo rehab to help them build a new life. Rather than getting thrown in jail, only to get picked up again and land back in court later, they receive AA support, counseling, housing, and job training to overcome addiction, abuse, lack of education and job skills, and the stigma of their prostitute lives. Makes sense to me. Cindy has told us wild stories of her experiences first as a DA and then as a judge with jurisdiction over “The Strip,” as well as remarkable examples of “graduates” from this incredible program.
Chief Judge Cynthia is following in most honorable footsteps. Her maternal grandfather, Ma Shou-hua, held many illustrious judicial positions in Taiwan, including Chief Justice of the Administrative Court. Bing only has two cousins on the Leung side, but the gene pool talent is beautifully strong there.
Not long after Bing and I were married, Cindy spent a summer week with us. She was in junior high, living in Palm Desert; the week was a change of scenery for her and a chance for us to get to know her a little better. We had a great time, and were impressed even then with Cindy’s intellectual curiosity, her articulateness, sense of humor, and commitment to excellence. Sometimes you just know.