Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, April 8, 2002


Page 1


Deputy District Attorney Diana Summerhayes Elected Commissioner


By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts


Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Diana Summerhayes has been elected a Superior Court commissioner, officials said Friday.

Summerhayes, who lost a runoff for a commissioner’s post last month, won a majority of the vote this time and avoided a runoff in a field of some 27 candidates running for two positions. There will be a runoff for the other post.

Candidates in the runoff are Superior Court research attorney William Dodson, State Bar Court Judge Stanford Reichert, and Superior Court Referee Jane Godfrey. Ballots will go out tomorrow, but a due date has not yet been set, court spokesman Kyle Christopherson said.

Several more vacancies, which have occurred in the last two months, will be filled in May, he added.

Rampart Case

Summerhayes, a veteran of the office’s appellate division before being reassigned to the probe of the Los Angeles Police Department Rampart  Division and related cases, has been a prosecutor for 17fi years. She is currently involved in the wrap-up of the Rampart unit and is working with the Brady compliance unit responsible for providing discovery to defense attorneys.

She previously did felony trial work in  Torrance, Long Beach, downtown Los Angeles and Norwalk. She was president of the League of Women Prosecutors in 1995 and 1996.

Summerhayes said she will not know until today when she is to be sworn in or where she will be assigned. “It would be nice if I could be assigned to a position where I would be doing criminal matters,” she told the MetNews. If not, she said, she was hopeful that her appellate background would be helpful.

Clear Records

“I’ve read transcripts where judges were very clear,”, as well as some where the bench officer was “very obtuse”  she said. “I’m not saying it’s easy to create a clear record, but I know you’re supposed to attempt to do that,” Summerhayes commented.

Of the candidates in next month’s runoff, the edge would appear to go to Dodson, who is the highest ranked of the three contenders. Judges are not required to follow the ranking order adopted by the court’s evaluating panel, but have consistently done so since the present candidate list was nominated last fall.

That consistency may be due to a rule that prohibits the candidates from directly soliciting support from judges, sources said.

Judicial Staff Counsel

Dodson was a Pasadena senior deputy city attorney before going to work for the court. Reichert was appointed to a three-year term on the State Bar Court last year after serving for nearly two years as judicial staff counsel in the San Bernardino Superior Court’s Rancho Cucamonga courthouse and is a former civil litigator.

Godfrey is a referee at Children’s Court in Monterey Park.

The two candidates who fall short in the runoff will be the highest-ranked contenders in the May election, followed by Santa Monica lawyer Michael Levanas, Deputy Federal Public Defender Richard Novak; Sherman Oaks practitioner Michael Convey, veteran child-support enforcement lawyer Nicholas Taubert; Referee Marilyn Mackel; Deputy Public Defender Mark Zuckman; Referee Stephen Marpet; Referee Guillermina Byrne; Deputy District Attorney Roger Ito; and H. Don Christian, a Covina lawyer who was a candidate for an open Superior Court seat in the March 5 primary.


Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company