Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Registrar to Determine if Davenport Can Run as ‘Retired Criminal Prosecutor’
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
A Los Angeles Superior Court candidate, denied the right to list himself as a “Retired Judge Advocate” on the June 3 primary ballot, has asked to be designated as a “Retired Criminal Prosecutor” instead.
A spokesperson for the county registrar of voters said that Robert Davenport had submitted documentation for his newly proposed designation and that the County Counsel’s Office was reviewing it.
Davenport on Feb. 13 became the first candidate to return nominating documents in the race for the Los Angeles Superior Court seat that was vacated last week by Judge Dzintra Janavs, and requested the “Retired Judge Advocate” designation that the registrar rejected when he ran against then-Deputy City Attorney Dan Lowenthal two years ago.
Court documents and military records indicate that Davenport was an active naval officer from 1973 to 1977 and a reserve officer from 1977 to 1982, which encompassed the years of his law school attendance, and that he was honorably discharged from the Navy for having twice failed to earn promotion.
In 1990, he applied to the Army Reserve and was commissioned a judge advocate. But in 2002, he was discharged after a panel of officers found that he failed to advise the Army of his prior discharge and to obtain the waiver required when an officer discharged from another service branch seeks an Army reserve commission.
The discharge was accompanied by other findings of misconduct and was originally labeled as being “under other than honorable conditions,” but was upgraded to honorable by a military review board in 2004.
Davenport, a Harvard Law School graduate who has been an inactive State Bar member since 1978 and has never represented anyone other than himself in a California court, declined to tell the MetNews when and where he had served as a prosecutor. Copies of the documentation submitted by Davenport to the registrar could not immediately be obtained.
Deputy District Attorney Jared Moses, one of the other three candidates to declare in the race, said he was prepared to litigate the issue if the registrar accepts the designation.
“It’s amazing to me” that Davenport would claim to be a retired prosecutor, Moses said. “There’s basically nothing this guy won’t do.”
Moses noted that two years ago, Davenport ran as “Disabled Veteran/Attorney” after the registrar rejected “U.S. Judge Advocate” and “Retired Judge Advocate.” Moses said he was also prepared for a court fight if Davenport sought to use the designation he ran under last time.
At the time, Lowenthal—who has endorsed Moses—said he did not believe the designation was valid, because being a disabled veteran is not a “profession, vocation, or occupation,” as the law requires, but chose not to challenge it.
Moses, however, noted that Davenport, with no significant endorsements or campaign spending and a “not qualified” rating by the County Bar, got 39 percent of the vote against Lowenthal, and said he was not going to take a chance on his opponent repeating that performance based on the questionable designation.
The other two declared candidates for the seat, attorney/flight attendant Pattricia Vienna and attorney/realtor Douglas Weitzman, could not be reached for comment.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company