Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Los Angeles Superior Court, Office 102
There are three candidates for Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 102. Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Hayden Zacky is the obvious choice for the office.
He has been a prosecutor for 11 years, and is currently assigned to the Hardcore Gang Division—hardly a position given to a bungler. For two years before joining the District Attorney’s Office, he handled civil cases, primarily insurance defense work, for an Encino law firm.
Zacky is relatively young—41—but is mature. He’s articulate, even-tempered, and able. He can do the job that he seeks.
His opponents, in sharp contrast, are not fit for judicial service.
Civil practitioner George Montgomery has more years of experience in law than Zacky, but is sly and crafty. Ask him a question, and he’ll talk around it, shading and twisting.
Montgomery is listed on the ballot as “Trial Lawyer/Teacher.” A ballot designation must be based on “principal professions, vocations, or occupations” held at present or within the past one-year period. Having handled one bench trial within the past year, Montgomery does not come under any common definition of a “trial lawyer.” So far as being a “teacher” is concerned, he says:
“I was a teacher at Loyola Law School. What I do now is I teach young lawyers how to try lawsuits.”
But he hasn’t taught at Loyola since 1994 and, under questioning, admits he has informally mentored only about six young lawyers in the past year, not always for pay.
That does not come close to qualifying him as a member of the teaching profession.
Montgomery’s campaign website says:
“During his career, George has been a friend of and rendered special assistance to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and to the CIA.”
What sort of special assistance? Well, he can’t talk about that—it’s all hush-hush. You’ll just have to take his word for it. But is anything worthy of being taken at face value when it’s uttered by someone who claims that teaching is one of his “principal professions, vocations, or occupations” merely because he has given some advice now and then to young attorneys?
If Montgomery cannot substantiate his claim, he should not make it. He causes one to wonder if he is not another Patrick Couwenberg—a Los Angeles Superior Court judge removed from office by the Commission on Judicial Performance in 2001. Among Couwenberg’s various falsehoods was his testimony that he had been engaged in covert operations for the CIA. This is not to assert that Montgomery is lying about having aided the CIA and FBI. The truth or falsity is simply not susceptible of ascertainment. What we do suggest is that any claim of that sort, absent even a trace of proof, should be viewed with suspicion.
Mack is a deputy public defender. He represents in his campaign that he’s had 15 years of experience in the criminal field, which is true, and “[f]ive years of civil experience.” What he obviously intends to communicate is that he practiced law in the civil arena for five years before becoming a criminal defense attorney. He didn’t. Mack includes in the “[f]ive years of civil experience” the three-and-a-half years he spent as a deputy clerk in the Los Angeles Superior Court Clerk’s Office.
Any lawyer with so devious a mind as to fabricate experience in law based on activities before being admitted to practice is clearly unworthy of consideration for election or appointment to the bench.
Beyond that, Mack is far from being a dynamo. He’s a run-of-the-mill lawyer who has evinced no particular aptitude for the bench.
One of the candidates in this race is marked by competency. Two are tricksters.
The choice is easy. We endorse Zacky.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company