Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Deputy Attorney General Lance Winters to Run for Open Judicial Seat
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
State Deputy Attorney General Lance Winters said yesterday he will run for an open seat on the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Winters, who has spent his entire 15-year legal career on the criminal law side of the office and has been a supervisor there for the past 10 years, told the MetNews that judicial service is “one of the most rewarding things you can do in the legal profession.”
He said he had secured a number of endorsements, including those of two attorneys general he has served under—Bill Lockyer, now state treasurer, and Dan Lungren, now a Republican congressman from Northern California. The current attorney general, Jerry Brown, has a policy of not endorsing his subordinates, seeing it as a conflict of interest, Winters explained.
He also claims the backing of Sheriff Lee Baca, Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert of this district’s Div. Six and several Superior Court judges and law enforcement groups.
The UCLA graduate—both undergraduate and law school—said he is qualified for the bench because he “know[s] criminal law really, really well,” has gained valuable experience as a judge pro tem in small claims cases, and is temperamentally suited to be a judge.
“I know how to treat people well, how to help people,” he said.
His work primarily involves death penalty cases, including habeas corpus petitions. He is scheduled to argue next month in the case of Kenneth Gay, who is seeking to overturn his second sentence for the 1983 murder of Los Angeles Police Officer Paul Verna.
It will be his fifth argument before the high court.
Gay’s 1985 death sentence was overturned in 1998 by the state Supreme Court, which found that he had incompetent legal representation in his first trial. He was sentenced to death a second time in December 2000.
Winters said he is currently talking to campaign consultants, and has loaned his campaign $100,000, which he intends to spend if necessary.
Winters grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and is a third-generation resident of Los Angeles County. He has been active in the Los Angeles County Bar Association, serving on the Appellate Courts and Judicial Appointments committees.
His wife, Kerry Keach Winters, is a staff attorney at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
There are expected to be at least three open Superior Court seats on the June 3 primary ballot. Superior Court Commissioner James Bianco has also declared that he will run, and Redondo Beach attorney Sydney Singer has taken out papers to collect signatures in lieu of a filing fee, but could not be reached for comment on her plans.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company