Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Candidate Blasts LACBA for Rating Him ‘Not Qualified’ for Bench
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court candidate Larry H. Layton yesterday criticized the Los Angeles County Bar Association, saying it has been “always wrong” in evaluating him as a judicial contender.
Layton, 63, is running for judge for the eighth time, and was declared by the County Bar’s Judicial Elections Evaluation Committee Monday to be “not qualified” for the office. He had been rated “qualified” in his three most recent races, and “not qualified” in three prior contests.
One of his candidacies was as a write-in nominee. Neither he nor the incumbent judge he challenged were evaluated by LACBA for that contest.
Layton faxed a statement contesting the rating to the MetNews Monday, but it was not received until after press time. He also posted a statement on the League of Women Voters smartvoter.org Web site.
“[The County Bar is] wrong as I am WELL QUALIFIED for the position of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge...”
Those qualifications, he went on to say, include his 30 years of criminal and civil practice, his operation of an unaccredited law school since 1994, he service as judge pro tem in hundreds of cases, his service as an arbitrator, his authorship of the Larry Layton Legal Aids for students taking the bar exam, and his extensive work in the fields of state and federal administrative law.
The fact that the association has “gone back to unqualified” after rating him qualified in 2000, 2002, and 2004 suggests that it evaluates candidates based on its “mood at the time,” rather than on any objective criteria, he suggested.
Layton is one of seven candidates for the seat now held by Judge Paula Adele Mabrey, who retired at the end of last month. Also seeking the post are Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Janis Barquist, Deputy District Attorneys David Stuart and Edward Nison, and litigation attorneys Randolph Hammock, Maria Rivas Hamar and Stephen H. Beecher.
Layton ran for judge in the old Antelope Municipal Court District five times, including a write-in challenge of then-Judge William Seelicke in 1994. This is his third countywide race.
In his 2004 race, he finished fourth in a field of six candidates, polling 13 percent of the vote for the seat eventually won by Gus Gomez. He received nearly twice as many votes as Nison, who came in fifth in that race.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company