Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Primary Election Field Complete as 12 Candidates Enter Court Races
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
The configuration of several contests for open seats on the Los Angeles Superior Court was altered yesterday as 12 candidates filed declarations of intent by the 5 p.m. deadline.
The late filers included five candidates who have run before—Workers’ Compensation Judge John C. Gutierrez, Los Angeles attorney Douglas W. Weitzman, Superior Court Commissioner Lori-Ann C. Jones, Deputy Public Defender C. Edward Mack, and Los Angeles attorney Robert Davenport.
Also filing yesterday were Deputy District Attorney Marc Chomel, Santa Clarita attorney Mark Lee, Superior Court Referee Cynthia Loo, Redondo Beach attorney Pattricia Vienna, Los Angeles attorney Bill Johnson, and Superior Court Commissioner Harvey Silberman.
Silberman had previously filed for the seat now held by Judge Tracy A. Grant, but yesterday filed an additional declaration for the seat now held by Judge Michael Duggan. He now has until March 7 to decide which race to enter.
He is represented by consultants Evelyn Jerome Alexander and Randy Steinberg, and Steinberg said it was uncertain in which race Silberman would actually wind up.
Two candidates filed last week for multiple offices—Deputy Attorneys General S. Paul Bruguera and Robert Henry, each of whom filed both for the Duggan seat as well as for the seat now held by Judge Jack P. Hunt.
Johnson, 53, became the lone opponent of Superior Court Commissioner James Bianco. An attorney for 27 years, with a practice largely representing Japanese companies doing business here, Johnson said he was encouraged to run by the “constitutional law and freedom movement.”
Ron Paul Proponent
He has played an active role in the campaign of Republican presidential aspirant Ron Paul, but said he would withdraw from all such activities before he returns his nomination documents, at which time he would officially become a candidate.
Johnson said he was running because “I think I have a good sense of discernment and will rule fairly in all matters that come before me.” He said there was a need for experienced business law attorneys on the bench.
Chomel, 46, has been a prosecutor for almost 20 years. He is currently the deputy-in-charge for adult criminal cases in Inglewood. A Texas native, he said he has “the temperament, the resolve to be a good judicial officer.”
Loo, 44, has been a referee for eight years, and sits in Eastlake juvenile court. A USC law school graduate, she worked at what was then called Dependency Court Legal Services for 10 years, representing dependent children.
Diversifying the Bench
Represented by Alexander and Steinberg, Loo said that she was running to take advantage of her judicial experience and to diversify the bench. She has been a director of women lawyers of Los Angeles, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the Asian Pacific American Women’s Alliance, and has been active in the Multicultural bar alliance.
Gutierrez served as a Workers’ Compensation Judge from 1995 to 2004. Admitted to practice in 1983, he graduating from law school at the San Fernando Valley College of Law in Woodland Hills and attended college at the University of Texas.
Weitzman is a private practitioner who was admitted to practice in 1980. A licensed real estate broker for 27 years, he has presided over small claims and traffic cases, as well as arraignment proceedings, as a judge pro tem.
He graduated from Southwestern University School of Law and earned a master’s degree in tax from USC. He attended college at UC Berkeley.
Jones is a former deputy district attorney who was elected commissioner in March, 2006. She was admitted to practice in 1989 after graduating from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific in Sacramento, and attended college at Loyola Marymount University.
Mack has served as a deputy defender in the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office since 1990. A native of Florida who was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1989, he earned his law degree from the University of West Los Angeles in 1987 and attended college at Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he majored in chemistry, with a minor in theater.
He joined the public defender’s office after five years as an employee of the now-defunct Los Angeles Municipal Court. He joined the court in December 1985 as a clerical supervisor and later became a research attorney after being admitted to the bar.
Prior to attending law school, he served in the U.S. Air Force, and then worked for several years as a chemist in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Los Angeles. He later shifted to media, where he produced video presentations, cable television programs, and radio ads.
As a lawyer, he has served as president of the Black Public Defenders Association and as a member of the Executive Board of the California Association of Black Lawyers.
The following is a final, but unofficial, list of candidates who have filed declarations of intention. The name of each candidate will appear on the June 3 primary ballot if the candidate returns nomination documents by 5 p.m. on March 7.
The candidates are:
•Office No. 4—Judge Ralph W. Dau and challenger Redondo Beach attorney Sidnee Singer;
•Office No. 69—Deputy District Attorney Serena Murillo and Silberman for the seat now held by Judge Tracy Grant;
•Office No. 72—Chomel and Deputy District Attorney Hilleri Grossman Merritt for the seat now held by Judge Francis A. Gately Jr.;
•Office No. 82—Lee, Loo, and Deputy District Attorney Thomas Rubinson for the seat now held by Judge Wendell Mortimer Jr., who is retiring April 30;
•Office No. 84—Deputy District Attorney Pat Connolly, Bruguera, Gutierrez, Henry, and Jones for the seat now held by Judge Gibson W. Lee;
•Office No. 94—Deputy District Attorneys Eduard Abele and Michael O’Gara, Mack and Silberman for the seat now held by Judge Michael Duggan;
•Office No. 95—Superior Court Commissioner Patricia Nieto and state Deputy Attorney General Lance Winters for the seat previously held by Judge Alan Kalkin, who retired Feb. 19;
•Office No. 119—Deputy District Attorney Jared D. Moses, Davenport, Vienna and Weitzman for the seat now held by Judge Dzintra Janavs, who is retiring March 20;
•Office No. 123—Deputy District Attorney B. Kathleen Blanchard and Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Alan Nadir for the seat now held by Judge Michael Luros;
•Office No. 125—Superior Court Commissioner James Bianco and Johnson for the seat now held by Judge Daniel S. Pratt, who is retiring March 2;
•Office No. 154—Superior Court Commissioner Rocky Crabb, Bruguera, Henry and Deputy District Attorney Michael V. Jesic for the seat now held by Judge Jack P. Hunt, who is retiring July 31.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company