Monday, February 27, 2006
Prosecutor to Seek Seat Being Vacated by Judge Mabrey
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Deputy District Attorney David Stuart Friday took out papers to run in the June 6 primary for the seat being vacated by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paula Adele Mabrey.
Stuart, 40, said he will likely return papers this week, setting up a contest with Woodland Hills attorney Stephen Beecher. Beecher, 54, returned his papers Friday, becoming the first non-incumbent to officially qualify as a Superior Court candidate this year.
Stuart had previously taken out papers to run for the seats held by Judge Michael Knight, Richard G. Kolostian, Ruth Essegian, Charles Rubin and Marion Johnson, but the Mabrey seat was a more viable option for a number of reasons, he told the MetNews Friday.
Knight retired last week, and it is possible that the governor will appoint someone to it, meaning that person could run as an incumbent. The governor has already made his choices to succeed Kolostian, who also retired last week, as well as Essegian and Thomas Peterson, who have scheduled retirement for the first week in March.
A spokesperson for the county elections division told the MetNews Friday that the office, on the advice of the county counsel, will not accept papers for the Kolostian seat because it is already vacant and the governor has selected Kolostian’s successor, Stephen Pfahler, who does not have to face the electorate until 2008.
Candidates may still return papers, however, to run for Knight’s seat or to challenge Thomas Lewis and Victor Wright, the governor’s choices to succeed Peterson and Essegian, respectively, the spokesperson said.
Rubin and Johnson have not officially announced their plans, but Rubin said he is unlikely to run and Johnson is on sick leave. Commissioner Alan Friedenthal has taken out papers for Rubin’s seat, while Commissioner Bobbi Tillmon and Deputy District Attorney Hayden Zacky are potential candidates for Johnson’s.
This will be the second judicial race for Stuart, who ran in the old Los Angeles Municipal Court District in 2000, the last time judges were elected by district. Another prosecutor, David Mintz, finished first in that race—Stuart ran fourth—and won the seat in a runoff with attorney Vicki Roberts.
Stuart spent about $50,000 in that race, most of it from his own funds and from family and friends. He said he is prepared to put $100,000 of his own money into the contest this time, although he commented Friday that he will not put together a concrete campaign plan before seeing how many additional candidates enter the race.
Stuart received his undergraduate degree from California State University at Northridge and his law degree from Loyola. He graduated law school in June 1993 and worked as a research attorney for U.S. District Judge Manuel Real of the Central District of California from August 1993 to August 1994. He was in private practice from September 1994 until he joined the District Attorney’s Office in March 1995.
He is currently assigned to a felony trial court in Van Nuys and hears small claims once a month in Simi Valley as a judge pro tem of the Ventura Superior Court.
He said he applied for a judicial appointment last June, but has not heard from the Governor’s Office.
Beecher, a University of West Los Angeles School of Law graduate and a lawyer since 1988 practices business and tort litigation, bankruptcy, and criminal defense. He worked as a credit manager for two manufacturing businesses for 12 years before becoming a lawyer.
He was an unsuccessful candidate for the State Bar Board of Governors in 1996.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company