Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Page 1


Prosecutors File for Seats Now Held by Judges Duggan, Gately




Los Angeles Superior Court judges Michael Duggan and Francis Gately apparently will not be running for re-election, as a pair of deputy district attorneys filed for their seats, both saying they had been personally assured by the judges that they would not run.

Deputy District Attorney Eduard Abele, who had previously told the MetNews he would be running for an open seat, filed a declaration of intent to run for Duggan’s seat; while Deputy District Attorney Hilleri G. Merritt filed to succeed Gately.

Neither Duggan nor Gately could be reached for comment last night.

First Filing Day

Yesterday was the first day for the filing of declarations of intent to run for judicial office. The deadline for doing so is Feb. 6, but there will be a five-day extension for any seat in which an incumbent does not run. 

Merritt, 39, has retained the consulting firm Cerrell Associates, Inc. She said she had been giving serious thought to a race for a couple of weeks, heard over the weekend that Gately was not running, and called the judge yesterday morning to confirm that.

Merritt was born in San Francisco but grew up in the San Fernando Valley, graduating from El Camino High School before earning her undergraduate degree at UCLA and a law degree from Loyola Law School.

She is married to criminal defense attorney Brent Merritt.

Van Nuys Prosecutor

She is currently assigned to Van Nuys, where she has worked for more than five years. She previously spend five years prosecuting sex crimes, two years in central trials, and did misdemeanors and juvenile prosecutions prior to that.

Merritt has spent her entire 14-year career as a prosecutor.

“I went to law school to become a D.A., and I aspired to become a judge one day,” she commented. “A good judge can make all the difference in the world.”

 She said she was “prepared to spend in the six figures” on a campaign.

  Also filing yesterday was Deputy District Attorney Jared Moses, who is seeking the seat of retiring Judge Dzintra Janavs. Moses, a prosecutor since 1994, is currently a member of the Training Division and previously prosecuted “the most serious types of cases,” he explained, spending more than five years in the Hardcore Gang Unit.

  He has also taught criminal law at Glendale College of Law and has taught courses for the California District Attorneys Association, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

  He said that he is currently in conversations with consultants and expects to spend between $150,000 and $200,000 for the seat.

Superior Court Commissioner Harvey Silberman previously took out papers to run for the Janavs seat.


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