Tuesday, November 4, 2003
Judge John Harris Declares for Reelection, Driving Prosecutor Who Filed Earlier From Race
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Harris filed for reelection yesterday, prompting a prosecutor who had filed earlier in the day to drop out, possibly to seek an open seat.
Deputy District Attorney John Nantroup Jr. filed early yesterday for seat of Harris, 69. Harris was the only incumbent judge—other than the four who are not running and Judge Nancy Brown, who said she is undecided—who had not filed as of the close of business Friday.
But Harris, who was on vacation last week, learned of Nantroup’s filing when he showed up at the registrar’s Norwalk office to file his own declaration of intention to run.
Nantroup said he spoke to Harris later in the day and decided not to finalize a candidacy, at least not for that seat. “We know what the practical ramifications” of running against an incumbent are, told the MetNews.
Tomorrow is the deadline for incumbents and their challengers to file their declarations. For the open seats, there is an extended five-day period in which candidates may file.
Although the declaration of intention is a prerequisite to running, a candidate does not go on the ballot unless he or she files nomination documents.
The period for doing so begins Monday and ends Dec. 5. A candidate has the option of filing declarations for multiple seats—although each must be accompanied by a separate filing fee or a separate set of signatures in lieu of a filing fee—but can only file nomination documents for one seat.
Nantroup, 50, said he believes he will make a good judge based on his 27 years in the criminal justice system and the variety of his experiences. A retired Culver City police officer, he has been with the District Attorney’s Office since 1990 and is currently assigned to the Crimes Against Police Officers Section.
He was previously a trial prosecutor in San Fernando and spent several years prosecuting gang homicides.
As far as a potential candidacy goes, he said he was going to “sit down and consider my resources” and evaluate “what race would make the most sense.” He said he knows and respects several of his fellow prosecutors who are already running or looking to run and would factor that into his decision.
Running against a fellow deputy district attorney was something he “was hoping to avoid” but was “not going to foreclose,” he said.
He added that he was “a babe in the woods” as far as politics goes and had not thought about fundraising or hiring a campaign consultant.
Candidates who have filed for open seats are Deputy District Attorney Daniel Feldstern to succeed Judge Marcus Tucker, Deputy Attorney General Gus Gomez and Acton attorney Larry Layton to replace Judge Richard Hubbell, Deputy District Attorney Judith L. Meyer to succeed Judge James Wright, and Deputy District Attorneys Patrick David Campbell and Craig Renetzky for the seat now held by Judge Rosemary Shumsky.
In addition, Deputy District Attorney Edward Nison filed for the Brown seat, but said he would switch to another race if Brown runs; Superior Court Referee Mildred Escobedo took out papers to run for both the Tucker and Hubbell seats, but has not filed for either; Superior Court Research Attorney Kevin Notre took out papers to run for the Tucker seat; Workers’ Compensation Judge John Gutierrez and Department of Industrial Relations attorney P. Michael Erwin took out papers to run for the Hubbell seat; and Superior Court Commissioner Donna Groman said she may run for an open seat.
Deputy District Attorney Laura Priver took out papers to run for the Brown seat, but said she would not run against the incumbent.
With Nantroup not running against Harris, the only judge with a challenger who has filed is Chesley N. McKay Jr. He is opposed by Department of Industrial Relations attorney Stella Owens-Murrell.
Westlake Village attorney James D. Gustafson has taken out papers to run against Judge Alexander H. Williams III but had not filed as of close of business yesterday. Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Kevin M. Burke, a former Orange County prosecutor, took out papers for a potential candidacy against Judge David Wesley, but said last week he is not certain he will run.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company