Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Page 1


Two More Prosecutors File for Stevens’ Court Seat

Judge Maren Nelson Draws Challenge From Hollywood Lawyer


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Two prosecutors filed declarations of intent yesterday to run for the Los Angeles Superior Court seat being vacated by Judge Emily Stevens, increasing the field of candidates for the post to four.

Deputy District Attorney Lou Holtz Jr. and Hawthorne Deputy City Attorney Kim E. Smith, a former deputy district attorney, join Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Chris Garcia and Superior Court Referee Randy Hammock in the contest for the Stevens post.

In other election news, Hollywood attorney Jim G. Baklayan filed a declaration of intent to challenge Judge Maren Nelson.

Holtz Candidacy

Holtz, who had previously declared his candidacy without designating a seat, reported raising nearly $400,000 through the end of last year. A graduate of USC and Loyola Law School, he was admitted to the State Bar in 1992 but took inactive status in 1996 to pursue a screenwriting career.

The son of a vaudevillian and comic actor, Holtz wrote the screenplay for the 1996 comedy “The Cable Guy,” starring Jim Carrey. He returned to practice with the District Attorney’s Office in 2000.

He said his decision to run for the Stevens seat, despite the crowding field, was dictated by his earlier determination not to run against Alan Schneider and Valerie Salkin, who are friends and fellow prosecutors.

Schneider and Salkin are seeking the seats being vacated by Judges William Pounders and William Weisman, the only other open seats in this election cycle.

Holtz, 46, said he had “a huge amount of confidence” he could win the seat, in part because of the endorsements of District Attorney Steve Cooley, Sheriff Lee Baca, county Democratic Chairman Eric Bauman, and “225 judges and prosecutors.” His campaign consultant is David Gould.

 Smith, 62, did not return a MetNews phone call, but his campaign consultant, Fred Huebscher, said Smith would have “at least $100,000” to spend on the race. Huebscher said his candidate, a former military officer and former deputy sheriff, “has a very good chance to win.”

Smith is a graduate of Occidental College and Southwestern Law School.

Unavailable for Comment

A phone call to Baklayan’s office was returned by an assistant, who declined to give his name and said the candidate would be unavailable for comment until tomorrow. State Bar records show that Baklayan is 42 years old and attended California State University, Northridge and the University of LaVerne College of Law.

Nelson, who did not return a phone call, becomes the second judge to draw a challenge this year. Glendale attorney Marvin Fischler, who took out papers to challenge Judge Laura Matz, said yesterday he intends to file by tomorrow’s 5 p.m. deadline.

Nelson, 53, was appointed a judge by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last January after having been a commissioner since 2004. She previously spent seven years as an associate, then partner, with Morrison & Foerster, preceded by six years as an associate at Overton, Lyman & Prince. She graduated from Occidental College and the USC School of Law.

In other election news, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Tom Griego filed a declaration of intent to run for the Pounders seat. He had previously said he would run for the Weisman seat, and his switch leaves Salkin—whose campaign recently announced that she had raised $500,000 for the race, the most of any Los Angeles Superior Court candidate in this cycle—unopposed.


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