Thursday, February 26, 2008
Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 119
Deputy District Attorney Jared Moses is “very well qualified and credentialed” for the post of Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
Those words come from the only one of his three rivals in the contest whose candidacy can be taken at all seriously, attorney Pattricia Vienna.We agree with her assessment of Moses.
He is considered within his office, and outside it, to be intelligent, productive, and possessed of an excellent sense of humor.
In a July 16, 2004 letter to the Governor’s Office urging the appointment of Moses to the Superior Court, District Attorney Steve Cooley was effusive in his praise. The letter includes this passage:
“Given his extensive courtroom experience, his excellent communications skills, his intellectual ability and his commitment to serving, improving and protecting the community, I believe he would be a tremendous asset to the Superior Court bench. I personally, enthusiastically and unequivocally recommend him for a judicial appointment in Los Angeles.”
Moses had one year of experience with a civil law firm before joining the DA’s office in 1994. Between 1999-2004, he was a member of the Hard Core Gang Division—to which only top prosecutors are admitted—trying 16 gang murders. Overall, he has handled more than 70 jury trials and in excess of 50 court trials.
The candidate is now in the training division, and has lectured widely within the state and beyond, much of that being on his own time.
Moses is easygoing, likeable, and destined to be honored by various bar associations over the years ahead as “Judge of the Year.”
His fitness for the post to which he seeks election is manifest…and is even conceded, as just noted, by one of his opponents, Vienna.
That concession reflects admirable candor on her part. She is not only forthright but is bright and possessed of poise. She, like Moses, has ideal judicial temperament.
But in contrast to Moses, Vienna does not have an ideal background. Admitted to practice in 1996, she has not made a court appearance since December, 2004. She has never handled a jury trial. She has had only one client in a criminal case—one that involved a misdemeanor—which was disposed of.
Her career in law, prior to that final appearance three years ago, had been comprised primarily of handling unlawful detainers. She estimates having made court appearances on about 85 UDs, as well as about 15 other cases, including a two-week trial.
Since becoming an attorney, she has remained active in her pre-law career as a flight attendant for United Airlines. On her campaign website, she remarks: “Practicing law full-time and working as a flight attendant did have some drawbacks - some mornings I would wake up and say, Do I serve coffee or a subpoena today!”
To her credit, she has, over the past five years, devoted substantial time to acting as a volunteer temporary judge in traffic cases. Too, she is a past president of the Benjamin Aranda Inns of Court in Long Beach.
Were the municipal courts still in existence—and it is a shame that they’re not—Vienna would be a credible contender for a judgeship on such a court given her personal attributes, numerousness of court appearances, and pro tem experience. However, she is simply not presently Superior Court material and, when contrasted with Moses, clearly comes in a weak second.
The candidacy of realtor Douglas Weitzman cannot seriously be regarded. Two years ago when he ran, we commented that he was “ill-equipped for the office he seeks.” The Los Angeles County Bar Assn. rated him “not qualified.” We know of nothing that has caused him to gain fitness for the Superior Court over the past two years, and suspect he will draw the same LACBA rating as before.
This is the same Weitzman who was a respondent in People ex rel. Allstate Insurance Company v. Weitzman (2003) 107 Cal. App. 4th 534 which reinstated a complaint that had been dismissed. The insurance company asserted in the action that it had received “false and fraudulent claims from the staged accident ring operated” by Weitzman and others. The case was eventually settled; Weitzman won’t discuss the terms.
This candidate is ill-equipped for the position; he is slippery and evasive. In running again, he either thinks he can win, meaning that he dwells in a dream world, or derives masochistic pleasure from being lashed by the County Bar and by newspapers.
Robert Davenport—the only contender in the race who has perfected his candidacy by filing nominating papers—is a sorry individual. Rather than achieving to the extent of his abilities, he stays in his small Westwood apartment, achieving naught. Based on having developed a foot fungus while he was in the Navy, he has secured a disability pension. In seeking benefits, he declared that he is, despite his law license, hindered from performing in the field of law. If untrue, he’s a malingerer and a liar, unworthy of the post he seeks. But taking him at his word, as we choose to do, we see that he has confessed an inability to function as a judge.
Two years ago when he ran, we observed:
“As best as we can tell, he is unemployed, notwithstanding his law license and two master’s degrees. His education has been largely subsidized by taxpayers, yet he is not a contributing member of society.”
Has that changed? Responding to a contact this month by e-mail, Davenport offers no new information.
Davenport is a member of the State Bar—but a token member, only. He was admitted June 14, 1988, and has been on inactive status since Jan. 1, 1989. He has, it is true, handled court cases…but only on a pro per basis, and he has been declared a vexatious litigant. His candidacy is utterly a farce.
The line-up, as it now stands, includes one highly meritorious candidate, Moses—someone who had the potential to achieve in law, who applied himself, and established through performance that he is ready for a judgeship.
His opponents are markedly in contrast to him, and to each other. Vienna, who lacks the requisite experience, possesses “judgeship-worthy” root qualities—reflecting potential. Weitzman is devoid of such potential; his qualities are such that no amount of charity could elevate him to the status of those who are suitable for judicial service, or who could ever attain that status. Davenport is an individual whose intellect and academic credentials would, on the surface, mark him as a person who has the makings of a judge…but he doesn’t; in light of his lack of industriousness—whether through physical incapacity, as he claims, or by choice—and his shoddy judgment in the extreme, it’s clear that his qualifications for the bench are sub-zero.
Though the nominating period has not yet concluded, we do not view it as premature to declare a preference in light of the leader of the pack being certain to stay in the race. With confidence in his prowess, we endorse Jared Moses for Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 119.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company