Thursday, February 11, 2010
Third-Time Candidate Weitzman Challenges Judge Bruguera
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Douglas Weitzman, a Los Angeles attorney who has run for the bench twice previously, yesterday filed a declaration of intent to run against Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Soussan Bruguera.
Reached in her downtown Los Angeles chambers, the jurist responded “Oh, my goodness” after learning that she will be one of only three incumbent judges with opponents on the June 8 ballot. Yesterday was the last day to file a DOI, except in the three races where no incumbent is running; candidates for those seats can file up until Tuesday.
Bruguera said she does not know Weitzman, who could not be reached for comment. But her husband, state Deputy Attorney General Paul Bruguera, was a candidate, along with Weitzman, for an open seat that was won in 2006 by Judith L. Meyer.
Weitzman’s second failed effort came two years ago, when he sought the seat won by Jared Moses.
In prior interviews, Weitzman, now 54, told the MetNews that he was running because he has aspired to be a judge ever since he became an attorney in 1980.
A graduate of Southwestern Law School, he has a master’s degree in tax from USC and said that after hearing thousands of small claims and traffic cases and arraignment proceedings as a judge pro tem, he felt he has a lot to offer as a bench officer.
He is also a licensed real estate broker and has taught law-related courses at the University of Phoenix, a for-profit institution which bills itself as the nation’s largest accredited private university.
Bruguera, 53, has been a judge since 1989, when she was appointed by then-Gov. George Deukmejian. She had previously worked as a deputy attorney general in the Business and Tax Section, as a deputy district attorney, and as an associate in a Torrance firm.
She graduated from USC and Loyola Law School and was admitted to the State Bar in 1981.
In other election news:
•Attorney and mediator Kendall C. Reed filed a declaration of intent to run for the seat being vacated by Judge Emily Stevens. Reed could not be reached for comment, but an online biography says he “began his legal career as a litigator, and has been an Associate General Counsel, General Counsel, and Director of Intellectual Property for various companies.”
He is a graduate of UC San Diego and USC School of Law and was admitted to the State Bar in 1984.
•Glendale attorney Marvin Fischler, who had previously taken out papers to challenge Judge Laura Matz, made the contest official when he filed his declaration of intent.
•Jim G. Baklayan, a Hollywood attorney who last week filed a declaration of intent to challenge Judge Maren Nelson, said that while he did not know the incumbent, he decided to run against her because of research he did online.
He declined to be more specific, but an Internet search shows that Nelson, who sits in a family law department downtown, has been the subject of disparaging anonymous comments in online forums devoted to family law. One site repeats a critical quote from a book by actor Alec Baldwin, whose long-running custody and visitation dispute with ex-wife Kim Basinger was presided over by the judge.
Nelson, who was appointed a judge last year after having been a comissioner since 2004, said she was not familiar with the online comments, but that she intended “to continue to work hard” on the bench and would “very vigorously” fight to keep her post, and that she was very grateful for expressions of support she has received from colleagues. She said she had not yet hired a consultant or planned a campaign strategy, but that she would be doing so soon.
Baklayan said he did not expect to spend a great deal of money on the challenge, and that what funds he did expend were likely to come from him personally. He said he did not want to seek backing of partisan or “special interest” groups, but would consider hiring a consultant.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company