Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, November 13, 2001


Page 1


Prosecutor Says He’ll Stay in Race Against Judge Dunn


By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts


Deputy District Attorney Richard Walmark, who filed to run for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Reginald Dunn’s seat with the express expectation that Dunn wouldn’t seek reelection, said Friday he will stay in the race against the incumbent.

Dunn—who said several weeks ago he intended to seek a new term, then told acquaintances he wouldn’t—filed his declaration of intent Wednesday, just hours before the deadline. He did not return a phone call Friday seeking comment on his apparent change of mind.

By the time he did file, three other candidates—Walmark, Superior Court Commissioner Glenda Veasey, and Encino lawyer Thomas Warden—had declared for the seat and paid their $1,300 filing fees. But Warden and Veasey said they wouldn’t run against Dunn, and would either run for open seats or not at all.

The extended deadline for filing for open seats is 5 p.m. today.

After Dunn filed, Walmark—who is the calendar deputy in Judge John Fisher’s Van Nuys courtroom—said he would consider other races. But on Friday, he said that he had decided to stay put.

Walmark declined to offer a specific explanation as to why he preferred running against Dunn to seeking an open seat, offering only that he had considered all options. Walmark said he was prepared to seek contributions to raise the substantial amount of money that would probably be needed to run a viable race against a sitting judge.

In another Friday development, State Bar Court Judge Paul Bacigalupo filed to run for Superior Court seat being vacated by Judge David Finkel.

Bacigalupo, 42, is the third candidate to enter the race for Finkel’s seat. Deputy District Attorney David Gelfound and Pasadena lawyer David Crawford III are also seeking the post.

Bacigalupo, whose term as a hearing judge expires in November of next year, said his present job is “wonderful.” But having no guarantee of reappointment, he said, he intends to take advantage of the “great opportunity” to run for the Superior Court.

Bacigalupo said he was prepared for what could be a free-spending contest with Gelfound, who previously said he has budgeted $100,000 for the race.

“I think that spending money, if someone is seeking a position in such a large jurisdiction, is one of the realities of elected life,” Bacigalupo said. He added that he is in the process of “organizing a campaign team,” whose membership he was not ready to disclose. 

The candidate is a graduate of Santa Clara University and McGeorge School of Law. After clerking for the immigration court in Los Angeles, he went into private practice doing civil litigation for more than 11 years. 

He later joined JAMS as a mediator and arbitrator, then spent three years with the law firm of Castle & Lax prior to his appointment to the State Bar Court a year ago. His work at the firm was primarily in complex construction, business, employment and insurance cases.

Bacigalupo was among the first judges appointed to the State Bar Court under legislation allowing the governor, Senate Rules Committee, and Assembly speaker to each appoint one member of the Hearing Department. Previously, all of the judges were appointed by the state Supreme Court.

Bacigalupo was appointed by Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg, who will be leaving the Legislature next year due to term limits. He said he didn’t know Hertzberg prior to applying for the State Bar Court through the Nomination and Evaluation Committee appointed by the state high court.

Another State Bar Court judge, Michael D. Marcus, is also running for the Superior Court.

Marcus is the supervising judge of the Hearing Department in Los Angeles, but was not reappointed by the Supreme Court and is leaving his post Dec. 9.  He is seeking the seat being vacated by Judge Michael Kanner, and faces Deputy District Attorney Lauren Weis Birnstein,  former Superior Court Commissioner Richard Espinoza, and Mid-Wilshire civil lawyer Robert S. Harrison, who entered the race on Thursday.

Harrison said he became a candidate because the bench is “something I’ve thought about for a long time,” going back to his days clerking for Court of Appeal Justice Robert Feinerman while attending Loyola Law School.

Harrison, whose undergraduate degree is from UCLA, spent 10 years at a local firm before going out on his own seven years ago. He is also a civilian panelist on the Los Angeles Police Department Board of Rights.

He acknowledged that the campaign could be expensive. “I am going to commit money, but there may be other people who can outspend me,” he said.


Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company