Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Page 3


Harris to Seek New Term, Encino Lawyer Says He Will Seek Another Seat




Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Leland B. Harris said yesterday he will be seeking a new term in the June 6 primary.

Harris told the MetNews he has retained the consulting firm of Cerrell Associates Inc. to help him fend off any challenge.

If a challenge does come, it will not be from Robert M. Ross, the Encino criminal defense lawyer said yesterday.

Ross explained that he took out papers for the seat held by Harris, whom he has known for 30 years, because he misunderstood a recent conversation between them and thought that the judge was not running.

“Mea culpa, mea culpa,” Ross said. “[Harris] is a great guy and I have no intention of running against him.”

Ross said he will instead file for the seats now held by Judges Anita Dymant and Judith VanderLans, both of whom have said they will not run. Neither has indicated an official retirement date, and their seats will not be on the ballot if they step down before the Feb. 13 start of the nominating period.

Candidates may file declarations of intent to run between Jan. 30 and Feb. 8.

A filing fee must be paid, or signatures in lieu of the fee submitted, when the declaration is filed. But candidates may file declarations for multiple seats; they are not committed to a specific race until nominating documents are filed.

Deputy District Attorney Sean Coen has taken out signature-in-lieu petitions for both the VanderLans and Dymant seats, and Ross said he will likely run for whichever of those seats Coen doesn’t.

Candidates seeking open seats, besides Coen and Ross, include Deputy District Attorneys Andrea Thompson and Eric Harmon, private practitioners Benjimin Brees and Lawrence Kaldor, and Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Matthew Schonbrun.

Harris, 65, recently completed 21 years of judicial service, having been one of then-Gov. George Deukmejian’s last appointees, in January 1991. Before that he spent 17 years in the District Attorney’s Office, preceded by a short stint as an associate at a Beverly Hills firm.

He majored in history at what is now California State University, Northridge, graduating in 1969. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, and he was admitted to the State Bar in 1972.


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