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Skid Row Marathon with Judge Craig J. Mitchell

Skid Row Marathon, directed by Mark Hayes, part of the Justice a Film Festival Summer Films.

A Justice Film Festival favorite, the documentary Skid Row Marathon returns along with its subject, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Craig J. Mitchell, who will be in conversation with the filmmakers and David DiCerto after the film. Judge Mitchell, a devout Catholic whose faith fuels his efforts to inspire hope through running, will share first-hand stories of lives changed for the better as well as those who fell back into addiction.

Skid Row Marathan tells the story of criminal court Judge Mitchell who starts a running club on LA’s notorious Skid Row. When he begins training a motley group of recovering addicts and reformed felons to run marathons, lives begin to change. The film follows four runners as they rise from the mean streets of LA to run marathons around the world, fighting the pull of homelessness and addiction at every turn. Their story is one of hope, friendship, and dignity.

About Judge Craig J. Mitchell

The Honorable Craig J. Mitchell is a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court. He was appointed to the bench by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005. A graduate of UCLA, Judge Mitchell taught school for 17 years before deciding to attend law school. He earned his J.D. from the Southwestern University of Law in 1991.

He worked in private practice for two years and then joined the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office where he remained until his appointment to the Superior Court in 2005. During his time as a prosecutor for the D.A.’s office, he served on the Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit, which he also founded. The unit had a prosecutorial focus on domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. He also served in the Family Violence Unit.

One of the defendants whom Judge Mitchell sentenced to prison approached him after his release. He asked the Judge to visit him at the Midnight Mission homeless shelter where he was living. After the visit, the Judge, an avid runner for many years, decided to start a running club. He thought that if he could get a few of these men and women into shape and run marathons, the benefits would cross over into their personal lives. He promises those who stick with the program and stay clean a free trip to an international marathon.

Judge Mitchell suffers from a painful spinal condition and has been told by his doctors to stop running. He chooses to ignore their advice. He needs the club and the balance it provides in his life. It gives him the opportunity change the world in a way that he can’t in his own courtroom

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