Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Four More Become Candidates for Superior Court Open Seats
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Four more candidates have entered contests for open seats on the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Deputy Attorneys General S. Paul Bruguera and Bob Henry, corporate attorney Douglas Weitzman, and Acton attorney Larry H. Layton, who operates his own unaccredited law school in that community, took out and/or returned papers on Saturday.
Tomorrow is the deadline for candidates to return nomination papers for the eight seats on the June 6 primary ballot for which there is no incumbent running.
Weitzman, 50, filed for the seat being vacated by Judge Stephen Petersen. He said yesterday he had aspired to be a judge ever since he became an attorney in 1980.
Weitzman, a graduate of Southwestern University School of Law with a master’s degree in tax from USC, said that after hearing thousands of small claims and traffic cases and arraignment proceedings as a judge pro tem he feels he has a lot to offer as a bench officer.
He currently works as in-house counsel at a real estate company, in addition to representing private clients in tax matters, in addition to teaching law courses as an adjunct professor at the University of Phoenix.
He told the MetNews he had not done a lot of planning and did not anticipate spending the $45,000 required to have a 200-word candidate statement printed in the official ballot pamphlet, hiring a consultant, or otherwise spending a lot of money on the race.
He is the second candidate to enter the race, after Deputy District Attorney Judith L. Meyer, who lost a runoff for an open seat two years ago.
Bruguera, 49, said yesterday he intends to return papers for the Petersen seat as well.
He joined the Attorney General’s Office six years ago after practicing municipal litigation at the Los Angeles firm of Burke, Williams & Sorensen. He is a Loyola Law School graduate and has been doing civil litigation since 1982.
Husband of Judge
After being an advocate for that long, he said, “I think I would be good...in the role of decision maker.” He added that his wife, Superior Court Judge Soussan Bruguera—a veteran of 17 years on the bench—has been “very supportive” of his decision to run.
He said he does not plan to raise or spend a lot of money, pay for a candidate statement, or hire a consultant.
Layton, 63, said he was “off and running” for the seat now held by Judge Paula Adele Mabrey, who is retiring next month. Also seeking the post are Deputy District Attorney David Stuart and litigation attorneys Maria Rivas Hamar and Stephen H. Beecher, while another litigator, Randolph Hammock, has taken out papers.
Layton ran for judge in the old Antelope Municipal Court District five times, including a quixotic write-in contest against an incumbent judge, and has lost two bids for the Superior Court since unification.
“I want to work in the courtroom where I can provide justice and fairness for everybody,” he said.
Henry, 57, returned papers yesterday for the seat now held by Judge Charles Rubin. He is the third candidate to return papers for that seat, adding his name to those of Superior Court Commissioner Alan Friedenthal and Deputy District Attorney Michael Kraut.
Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Deborah Sanchez has also taken out papers for the seat.
A deputy attorney general for 32 years who currently does death penalty habeas corpus cases, Henry has run twice before, in 1992 and 2004.
Vows Final Attempt
“This will be the last time if I don’t make it,” he said yesterday.
The Harvard Law School graduate said he will not spend a great deal of money. He noted that in 1992 he came in second to incumbent Judge Joyce Karlin while spending less than $10,000 in a race in which another candidate spent in the vicinity of $200,000, much of it on television advertising, and finished last in a field of four.
Henry said he is unlikely to have a candidate statement. He said he recently argued before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a lawsuit he filed prior to his last election bid challenging the constitutionality of the statute allowing counties to charge for the printing of the statement.
Henry argues that the statute is unfair because, though it leaves each county free to determine whether it will bear the printing cost or pass that cost along to the candidates, the law provides no standards governing what circumstances a county may consider in making that decision.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company