Craig J. Cornwell was elected to his first term of office as City Attorney for the City of Compton on April 21, 2009. As City Attorney, Mr. Cornwell oversees an annual budget of more than $10 million. He is responsible for community prosecution of the Compton Municipal Code, civil defense, drafting and reviewing all City related contracts, and providing legal advice to City Council, Boards and Commissions, City management and City department heads.
Mr. Cornwell’s legal relationship with the City of Compton began in 1996 as a founding partner with the law firm of McClain-Hill Cornwell LLP. In an effort to further pursue public service, Mr. Cornwell joined the Compton City Attorney’s Office in 2000 as a Deputy City Attorney. Rising through the ranks, he became Chief Deputy City Attorney in 2006. He was appointed to the position of City Attorney in 2008.
During this initial term of office, Mr. Cornwell has successfully managed complex civil litigation. He investigated and managed a fraud lawsuit that resulted in a multi million dollar verdict in favor of the City.
In his relentless commitment to public health, safety and welfare, Cornwell created a public nuisance unit to abate substandard properties and improve the living conditions in the community. He presented legislation to streamline the abatement process in order to achieve positive results for the community as soon as possible. He also authored legislation to prohibit smoking and the use of tobacco related products in certain public areas within the City, including multi-unit residences. This legislation received national attention. Mr. Cornwell spoke out at a Planning Commission hearing of a neighboring City, to prevent a proposed trucking company from delivering materials, including materials of a hazardous nature, through certain streets in the City of Compton. The proposal was ultimately defeated.
As City Prosecutor, Mr. Cornwell files over 600 misdemeanors annually and has obtained some of the highest jail time sentences in his continuous fight against prostitution.
Cornwell attributes his commitment to public services to his parents. His father, long-time public servant, Pastor Raymond R. Cornwell, founded Faith Chapel Baptist Church in 1956 and served as the pastor for fifty years. Cornwell’s mother, Maple J. Cornwell, dedicated herself to the Compton Unified School District and eventually retired as a principal at Ralph M. Bunche Elementary School after forty-six years of dedicated service.
A Compton resident, Mr. Cornwell obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Juris Doctorate degree from Whittier Law School. Mr. Cornwell is married and the father of a four year-old daughter.