Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Prosecutor First to Claim Highest LACBA Rating in Judicial Races
By DAVID WATSON, Staff Writer
Deputy District Attorney Craig Mitchell yesterday became the first candidate running for judicial office on the March 2 ballot to publicly claim he has received a “well qualified” rating from the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
LACBA’s Judicial Elections Evaluation Committee is still in the process of interviewing candidates, both for the race in which Mitchell is running and for other races, and has not yet released its ratings. Another candidate in Mitchell’s race said he has yet to be interviewed.
Mitchell said he received the bar group’s rating by mail last week. The LACBA committee rates candidates as “well qualified,” “qualified,” or “not qualified.”
Mitchell is a candidate for the seat currently held by Judge Rosemary Shumsky, who is not running for reelection. Also running for the seat are Deputy District Attorneys David Lopez and Craig Renetzky, Deputy Attorney General Bob Henry, Torrance attorney Michael Shook, and Superior Court Referee D. Zeke Zeidler.
Henry said yesterday he has yet to be interviewed by LACBA.
The other candidates for Shumsky’s seat could not be reached for comment. Yesterday—Martin Luther King Jr. Day—was a holiday on which the courts and many law offices were closed.
All of the candidates in other races reached yesterday said they either had not yet been interviewed or had not received notice of their ratings. Consultant Fred Huebscher, who represents six candidates, and Hal Dash of Cerrell Associates, which represents three, said yesterday they were not aware of any other candidates who had received notice of their ratings.
A total of 36 candidates are running for nine seats in the March 2 primary election. Mitchell is one of 15 deputy district attorneys who are running, and one candidate is a retired deputy district attorney.
Four judges—Richard Van Dusen, David Wesley, Dan Oki, and Chesley McKay—have drawn a total of eight challengers. The remaining 24 candidates are competing for five open seats.
The LACBA group’s initial ratings are prepared by subcommittees, but candidates who are tentatively rated less than well-qualified receive notification and an opportunity to contest the rating before the full committee.
In 2002 there were 21 candidates in seven judicial contests. The LACBA committee rated nine of them “well qualified,” while nine were rated “qualified” and three received ratings of “not qualified.”
The initial “qualified” rating of one candidate—Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board Administrative Law Judge Donald Renetzky—was withdrawn two days after the MetNews reported that Renetzky was found to be 100 percent permanently disabled in a workers’ compensation action.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company