Metropolitan News-Enterprise

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Page 6



Five Endorsed for Superior Court



Mildred Escobedo

            Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 18


Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Mildred Escobedo is pitted against Deputy District Attorney Patrick David Campbell. It’s an easy choice. Escobedo should be elected.

She has handled judicial duties since 1998, doing so full-time since last year. In law practice, she handled both civil and criminal cases.

In contrast to her opponent, she possesses the temperament a judge should have.

Campbell testified in a writ proceeding in which he successfully challenged Escobedo’s desired ballot designation as “Judicial Officer” and in which she successfully challenged his description as “Criminal Prosecutor/Professor.” His testimony was unresponsive, his manner sulky. In meeting with this newspaper’s editorial board, he was highly confrontational and repeatedly responded to questions by declaring, “I stand on my previous answer,” although the question was new and the previous answers (to the extent there were answers) were evasions. 

Meaningfully, the head of the law office which employs Campbell, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, has not seen fit to endorse this deputy. Cooley has Campbell’s personnel file; he knows Campbell’s reputation within the office. In each of the other four judicial races on the Nov. 2 ballot, Cooley has endorsed a deputy district attorney. He is supporting Deputy District Attorneys Lori Jones, Laura Priver and Judy Meyer in their respective Superior Court races, and has jointly endorsed Deputy District Attorney David Lopez and Superior Court Referee Zeke Zeidler in their contest. But he has evidently found reason not to support Campbell.

There are enough erratic and cranky judges on the bench. We don’t need Campbell to be added to their ranks.

Campbell, by the way, is known within his office as “Dave Campbell.” He is listed on the ballot, however, as “Pat Campbell,” presumably to garner some votes from women who assume he is of their gender. The word “professor” was judicially excised from his ballot designation because he is not a “professor,” but is listed by American College of Law, where he teaches part-time, as an “adjunct” professor.

Escobedo would be a solid judge. Campbell would be a pain to those appearing before him. To state the obvious, we endorse Escobedo.



Lori Jones

            Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 29


Lori Jones has been a Los Angeles deputy district attorney for more than 15 years and has been lead prosecutor in more than 100 serious felony cases.

She is level-headed, and able to do the job.

Gus Gomez, though running for a non-partisan judicial office, boasts such endorsements as those of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the Democratic Club of Pasadena Foothills, and Democratic officeholders in Congress and the state Legislature. The former Glendale mayor also trumpets endorsements from local elected officials such as La Canada Flintridge Councilman Anthony Portantino, Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos and La Puente Councilman Louie Lujan, who are not attorneys.

Gomez is running a judicial campaign as if it were one for the Assembly.

Articulate and bright, he might, indeed, be fit for a spot in the Legislature. He is less ideally suited, however, for a seat on the Superior Court in light of his lack of trial court experience.

Not once has Gomez handled a jury trial. He has never handled a proceeding in the Superior Court in which he put on witnesses.

Given her superior credentials, we believe Jones is the better choice.



Laura Priver

            Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 52


We endorsed Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Laura Priver in the primary and continue to believe she would be a credit to the judiciary. A prosecutor for nearly 20 years, she is well regarded among colleagues and, in contrast to her opponent, Workers’ Compensation Judge John C. Gutierrez, possesses the requisite legal knowledge.

Gutierrez, skilled as he may be in handling workers’ compensation cases, has not kept up with developments in the law outside his narrow field. Two years ago, when he ran unsuccessfully for the Superior Court, he insisted this would not impede him as a Superior Court judge, explaining that he could look up the law. “I can read the law just as good as anybody else could,” he insisted.

We believe the public would be better served by a judge who knows the law than by one who would have to look it up.

Priver is an exceptionally well qualified candidate and we urge her election.



Zeke Zeidler

            Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 53


Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Zeke Zeidler has served as a bench officer since 1998. By virtue of his knowledge, temperament, and experience, he is the obvious choice for Office No. 53.

His opponent, Deputy District Attorney David Lopez, is not without favorable attributes. However, we find it significant that the Mexican American Bar Assn.—which is dedicated to boosting the number of Hispanics on the bench—has endorsed Zeidler.

In a letter to Zeidler, MABA President Edward R. Ortega said, in explaining the endorsement:

“MABA is committed to the advancement of Latinos in the legal profession and the empowerment of the Latino community through service and advocacy. Our endorsement was based upon your unmatched experience on the bench, your reputation as an attorney, and your history of leadership on anti-discrimination issues.”

Unmistakably, Zeidler is the better qualified candidate.



Judith Levey Meyer

            Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 69


We endorsed Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Judith Levey Meyer when she was a candidate in the primary. We discerned then, as we do now, special qualities possessed by this candidate which render her right for the job.

Able and fair-minded, Meyer is a respected prosecutor.

It is true that her opponent in the run-off, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Donna Groman, has seven years of judicial experience, while Meyer has none.

Yet, Meyer’s verve, commitment and astuteness are such that we foresee judicial service on her part of the highest caliber, and therefore unhesitatingly “re-endorse” her.


Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company