Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Los Angeles Superior Court
There are three candidates for Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 114. All are intelligent, all possess the temperament a judge should have. But the credentials of one of the three overshadow those of the others.
RIC HARMON is predominant among the contenders in this race, possibly the most impressive of all 10 aspirants for open seats in the June 5 election.
Admitted to practice in December 1998, Harmon has been a deputy district attorney since August 1999. He is presently at the Grade IV level, the highest rung outside of management.
The deputy is assigned to the Major Crimes Division, a cadre of first-class lawyers who handle high-publicity cases—lawyers who will face cameras and scrutiny, who can be trusted to exercise wise judgment, perform skillfully, and not embarrass the office.
In his latest internal performance evaluation, Harmon obtained the top rating of “far exceeded expectations (outstanding),” a rating rarely conferred.
Assistant District Attorney Patrick R. Dixon was head of Major Crimes in 2010. In evaluating Harmon’s performance, he said:
“He is liked by his peers, respected by his superiors and is praised by the bench….
“Mr. Harmon is one of the finest writers and legal researchers in this division. He stays abreast of the latest case law, and when confronted with legal issues, he will commit himself to original research in order to present concise and well-reasoned legal arguments….
“Moreover, Mr. Harmon’s skills with pen and paper are matched only by his in-court presentation. He is at once respectful and polished, yet assertive and determined. His arguments are pointed and direct without being curt or terse.”
He is endorsed by 27 sitting Los Angeles Superior Court judges. Each of his opponents has only one sitting judge of the county’s trial bench supporting him.
Harmon is well familiar with courtroom procedures—and how judges should conduct trials, and shouldn’t. He has handled 61 felony jury trials and 23 misdemeanor jury trials.
Unflappable, articulate, succinct, sincere, dedicated, giving, and knowledgeable, he is ideally suited for a judicial career.
ERG PARSEGHIAN is a top-notch civil attorney with a leading law firm, Bingham McCutchen. Since his admission to the State Bar in June 1999, he has also practiced with Sheppard Mullin and Winston & Strawn and has been a lawyer for Southern California Edison.
Exceedingly bright, he is capable of handling complex litigation.
However, his participation in one jury trial, as second chair, does pale beside Harmon’s extensive courtroom experience.
Parseghian, to his credit, has gained judicial experience by presiding over minor cases—he estimates in excess of 1,000—as a volunteer pro tem. But these are cases, such as traffic matters, that used to be heard in Municipal Court. These can’t be compared to the major felony cases Harmon handles as a prosecutor.
We suspect that if he were to become a judge, Parseghian would study what he needed to learn and would rapidly adapt to his new role. It would be our expectation that he would soon reach the point of having the capacity to preside over major civil or criminal cases. But this is speculation. With Harmon, it is near-certain that he could go into a courtroom today and perform the role of a judge deftly.
Although we are philosophically more in tune with Parseghian than with the more liberal Harmon, and respect Parseghian as an industrious, conscientious and learned attorney who seems to have the makings of an excellent judge, the evidence is overwhelming in support of a verdict for Harmon.
EN M. BREES has been a civil practitioner for 21 years. That’s nearly twice as long as either Harmon or Parseghian has been a lawyer.
If he were a judge, we believe he would work long hours and do his best.
He would be a judge in whose courtroom lawyers, litigants, and witnesses would feel comfortable.
We do not, however, discern potential on his part rivaling that of Harmon or Parseghian.
With the endorsement of Harmon, we have now indicated our recommendations in each of the six judicial contests on the June 5 ballot. To summarize:
Office No. 3: Sean Coen
Office No. 10: Sanjay T. Kumar
Office No. 38: Lynn Diane Olson
Office No. 65: Andrea C. Thompson
Office No. 78: James D. Otto
Office No. 114: Eric Harmon
For district attorney, we urge the election of Alan Jackson.
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company