IPA LaDoris Cordell Draws Legal Cartoons for Fundraiser

During her tenure as superior court judge, LaDoris Cordell would sketch cartoons poking fun at the courts.

They were visual riddles, colorful and irreverent—the idea was to guess the police or legal term depicted in the drawing. A picture of a bullet-pierced coffee mug, for example, translates to “mug shot.” She sold them as part of calendars to raise money for community organizations during her time on the bench, from 1988 to 2001.

Now, as San Jose’s Independent Police Auditor, she’s brought the tradition back. Her 2015 “IPA Days” calendar will raise money for the office’s Teen Leadership Council (TLC).

“I love to draw and I love TLC), so drawing illustrations for a 2015 calendar to benefit the TLC was a no-brainer,” Cordell said. “I had a lot of fun coming up with ways to depict legal/police terms.”

Suggested donations are $15 per calendar or $10 for three or more. For $100, you can buy one of her original drawings.

The TLC was created in March 2011 to advise Cordell’s office about the most effective ways to reach out to the city’s youth. It’s made up of 15 young people from San Jose and it the first board of its kind in the nation, according to the city.

To pre-order calendars, which become available Nov. 17, email the IPA office at [email protected] or call them at 408-.794.6226. Visit the city's website for more details.


  1. Legal cartoons by a racist police auditor? My 5 year old can create better art than that. Ladoris, stick with being a racist and not an artist.

  2. Here is a visual riddle Cordell should draw to describe her own job: have a drawing of a person with a stick poking a pile of dog poop. The correct answer to this riddle is “sh*t disturber.”

  3. LaDoris Cordell is a DISGRACE to the legal profession.

    Slide number 10 depicting three judges (including one who looks like herself) sitting on the bench in judicial robes smoking what one can only conclude is marijuana based on the seal depicting an (inaccurate) drawing of a marijuana leaf surrounded by the words “e pluribus cannabis” and another marijuana emblazoned flag is an insult to Judges, Attorneys the legal system and common sense.

    This goes beyond “irreverent humor” because of the messages it sends to the public at large about the judicial system and is magnified because of Cordell’s status as an Attorney, Retired Judge, and IPA who represents a segment of society that typically believes the solution to all the worlds problems especially socio-economic disparity , racism, police abuse, judicial abuse, corporate greed ….. could all be wiped out if “the man” would just ” loosen up by firing up.”

    The fact that two of the three judges depicted appear to be BLACK should be an affront to ALL BLACKS and ESPECIALLY those who are JUDGES or otherwise involved in the law… Cordell apparently thinks very little of you!

    Cordell is a disgrace and embarrassment. The fact that a person who has achieved so much in her professional life would draw the cartoon is indicative of the low value she places on the things she says that she loves and respects. It shows poor taste. The fact that Cordell has chosen to publish it shows extreme poor judgment.

    • It’s a pretty darn dumb calendar, if you ask me.

      Is there an “answer key” somewhere?

      I gather that slide 10 must be: “High Court”.

      And slide 5 or 6 must be: “A salt and battery.”

      And if I were a skeptical, cynical person, I would ask to see the books of the “Teen Leadership Council”.

      Any time money changes hands to the benefit (or pleasure) of a person of influence, questions should be asked (and answered).

      • …she is advertising it on a City Web site and may have drawn some of the cartoons on City time. I don’t know where she finds freed time to doodle with all her outside activism. One also wonders if public money was spent on publishing/printing costs. These are all valid concerns but surely will be dismissed by some who say it is “hypercritical” and/or “so petty when the IPA is just trying to do a ‘good thing’ for her TLC.”

        Reality, for those interested in reality, is that all those concerns ARE valid and raise serious questions about LaDoris Cordell’s ethics and integrity – she is after all supposed to ensure that SJPD is ethical and its officers operate with integrity. Cartoon 10 speaks volumes about Cordell’s views on the “integrity” of her fellow judges….and even her own.