Monday, November 1, 2010
Challenge to Judge Based on On-Line Reviews, Pastor Says
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
The pastor behind the write-in campaign to unseat Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Amy D. Hogue said Friday that he targeted the jurist based on unfavorable reviews he found during an Internet search.
C. R. Tillman said he had no personal experience with Hogue but considered it “part of our democratic civic duty to engage our officials and be involved” in the electoral process.
He complained that “very few attorneys have the guts to up and run against judges,” so “99 percent of all judges never have any competition” which “further breeds the power and abuse of power” of judicial officers. Having an opponent, he opined, “helps judges understand this is a democratic process.”
Tillman said that he circulated the petition to force the election for Hogue’s seat “not really to hurt her, but to make her a better judge.” He explained that “the Bible says if you tell a person what they do wrong and you do it in love, then that person appreciates it and does better.”
The candidate challenging Hogue, Los Angeles criminal defense attorney MaryEtta C. Marks, said Tillman was a friend who she assisted in garnering the necessary signatures to certify a candidate. She remarked that she “had a few people in mind,” to be the candidate, but when Tillman suggested it be her, she thought, “why not?”
“I don’t have anything to lose by trying it, and it’s a good experience,” Marks said. “I just see it as a lesson in civics,” she said, explaining that she never knew how the judicial election process operated until now.
Chuckling a bit, Marks reflected:
“I should be embarrassed to say that, with how long I’ve been practicing.”
Marks said she has never appeared before Hogue and knew nothing about the jurist, but insisted “people ought to have options and choices” and that she is qualified to take the bench herself.
All the elements are in alignment, so to speak, that would make me a great judge,” she said.
Marks posited that “everything I can see in my career path has led me in this direction,” emphasized that she has been practicing for almost 30 years and that she has judicial experience, having served as a judge pro tem from 1996 until 2008.
She acknowledged, however, that the odds are against her, since “this is really a grass-roots, zero-budget” campaign” being conducted primarily by email.
Marks is the only write-in judicial candidate in tomorrow’s election, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office said.
Hogue could not be reached for comment on Friday, but political consultant Fred Huebscher—who represented Judges Soussan Bruguera and Maren Nelson, both of whom won easily in June—said Hogue had contacted him after learning she had drawn a challenger “and I told her it’s like running unopposed.”
The odds of Marks prevailing “are two, slim and none,” Huebscher opined, adding that he would be surprised if Marks received more than a thousand votes.
“It isn’t easy to persuade people to write in a name,” he said.
Marks currently maintains the Law Offices of M. C. Marks near LAX. She began her legal career in 1981 as staff counsel for the State Water Resources Control Board before becoming staff counsel for the Department of Health Services in 1987.
She spent 12 years as a Los Angeles deputy public defender, resigning in 1999, and unsuccessfully sued the county the following year for discrimination and harassment on the basis of age, race and gender.
After leaving the public defender’s office, Marks spent three years as an attorney with the Law Offices of Ramsey and Price before opening her firm in 2002.
Marks earned her undergraduate degree from Pomona College and her law degree from USC.
Hogue is a former senior partner at the Los Angeles office of Pillsbury Winthrop where she was co-chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Group and headed its Media Advertising and Content Team. She was tapped for the bench in 2002 by then-Gov. Gray Davis.
She earned both her undergraduate and law degree from Duke University before being admitted to practice in 1979.
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