Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Ameli Petitions for ‘Superior Court Litigator’ Designation
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A Los Angeles Superior Court candidate yesterday petitioned that court to order that he be listed as a “Superior Court Litigator” on the November ballot.
Mark Ameli, a private practitioner in Beverly Hills, is facing Superior Court Referee Randy Hammock in the runoff for the seat formerly held by retired Judge Emily Stevens. Ameli finished second to Hammock in the primary, when Ameli was designated as an “Arbitrator/Mediator/Litigator.”
Hammock garnered 21.98 percent of the vote in an eight-way race on June 8, while Ameli drew 14.46 percent.
Ameli requested the designation change last month, but was turned down by the Registrar-Recorder’s Office on the ground it “would mislead the voter” and was thus unacceptable under Elections Code Sec. 13107.
Sec. 13107 permits “[n]o more than three words designating” the candidate’s “principal professions, vocations, or occupations” at present or within the preceding year.
In the writ petition, which the court set for hearing before Judge David Yaffe Sept. 2, Ameli’s attorney Paul Gough, of the Sherman Oaks office of Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, said his client was told when he submitted the designation that it was acceptable.
“The only conclusion one can draw from the approval of the ballot designation on July 27, the vehement objection of Hammock on July 28, and the change of mind of the Respondent on July 29, is that Hammock contacted Respondent’s [the Registrar-Recorder’s] office and demanded that Respondent withdraw the approval of Ameli’s ballot designation after it had been approved, and that Respondent, without good cause, acceded to Hammock’s request by withdrawing the approval of the use of Superior Court Litigator at his ballot designation.”
That “vehement objection,” Gough said, came in the form of a comment Hammock made to the MetNews, saying the designation was an attempt to mislead voters into thinking that Ameli—like his opponent—holds a po- sition within the Superior Court, and that Hammock was “absolutely going to challenge” the designation if officials approved it.
Hammock also asserted that the designation Ameli claims “is not a profession, vocation, or occupation,” as Sec. 13107 requires.
In a declaration attached to the petition, Ameli insisted that “Superior Court Litigator” is an accurate description of what he does because he routinely appears in that court, and does not handle cases in federal district courts or in state or federal appellate courts.
Hammock could not be reached for comment late yesterday.
The only other Los Angeles Superior Court contest on the Nov. 2 ballot is between Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Alan Schneider and Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Tom Griego.
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