Friday, February 29, 2008
Attorney Pattricia Vienna Will Not Pursue Judicial Race
By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer
Redondo Beach attorney Pattricia M. Vienna said yesterday that she will no longer be seeking a seat on the Los Angeles Superior Court in the June 3 primary election.
Vienna told the MetNews that she would not be returning the nomination documents she had taken out for Office No. 119 because she agreed with a MetNews editorial published Feb. 26 endorsing her opponent, Deputy District Attorney Jared Moses, that she would make a credible future judicial candidate if she obtained more court experience.
A 1986 admittee to the State Bar, Vienna, 55, practices in commercial finance and has served as a judge pro tem on the Los Angeles Superior Court for the past five years.
The editorial, which had concluded that she currently lacked the “requisite experience” nonetheless described her as possessing “‘judgeship-worthy’ root qualities” that reflected future potential.
“Were the municipal courts still in existence…,” the editorial stated, “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.”
Vienna’s departure leaves three opponents in the race: Moses and attorneys Robert Davenport and Douglas W. Weitzman. Moses and Davenport have both filed their nomination papers, while Weitzman told the MetNews that he plans to file his papers today.
Vienna said that she thought she could have forced a runoff with Moses had she stayed in the race, but that such an effort would ultimately have proven to be a waste.
“Continuing in the race would have increased the costs of the campaign for both candidates and may not have affected the outcome,” she said.
She said she will now endorse Moses, and that she had spoken with him Wednesday night by telephone to inform him of her decision.
She also indicated that she expected to seek a seat on the bench in the future either via election or appointment once she has gained more experience.
Vienna said that she did not think there would be any “other roadblocks” for Moses, and predicted that he would ultimately win the race. However, she cautioned that Moses might need to watch out for whatever ballot designation Davenport ultimately uses.
Davenport, who has been an inactive State Bar member since 1978 and has never represented anyone other than himself in a California court, was recently denied the right to list himself as a “Retired Judge Advocate” on the primary ballot, and has asked to be designated a “Retired Criminal Prosecutor” instead.
He has declined to tell the MetNews when and where he had served as a prosecutor, and his requested designation is currently under review by the County Counsel’s Office.
Pointing to the 39 percent of the vote Davenport received in his 2006 bid for a judicial post when he ran against then-Deputy City Attorney Dan Lowenthal as “Disabled Veteran/Attorney” after the registrar rejected “U.S. Judge Advocate” and “Retired Judge Advocate,” Vienna said she hoped that Moses would not have to waste too much money in a race with Davenport because of a “silly ballot designation.”
Moses confirmed that Vienna had phoned him to advise him of her decision to leave the race and endorse him, and said that she was “very gracious” and “a class act.”
He declined to speculate on the effect of Vienna’s departure from the race, maintaining that he had “no illusions” about the campaign and that he still expected a “tough race.”
Davenport, who told the MetNews he had not been told of Vienna’s decision to drop out, indicated that he “never though someone would pay [the filing fee] and not run,” but declined further comment.
Weitzman said that was similarly uninformed of Vienna’s departure until contacted by the MetNews, and that he did not expect it to cause any “real change” in the race, although he did say that Vienna’s decision was “better” for him.
Saying that he wished Vienna well, and that he was sorry to see her go, Weitzman added, “if you could convince the other two [candidates] to leave, I’d like that.”
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company