Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Judge Candidate Seeks to Be Listed as ‘Anti-Corruption Attorney’
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
A candidate for the Los Angeles Superior Court is seeking a new ballot designation after his original requested designation was rejected by the registrar-recorder.
Joseph Escalante, seeking the seat left open by Judge Deborah Andrews’ decision not to seek re-election, had originally submitted the title of “Volunteer Temporary Judge.” After that was rejected, he asked to be listed as “Anti-Corruption Attorney,” but “that one’s not going to fly either,” he predicted.
His final alternative, he said, is “Attorney at Law.”
Bradley Hertz, who asked for the first two choices to be reviewed, told the MetNews that would be a proper designation. Hertz is the attorney for Sean Coen, a deputy district attorney running for the seat.
Escalante, who is a professional musician, talk show host, and record producer, in addition to his work as an entertainment lawyer and occasional litigator, said he was resigned to the plain Attorney at Law designation. He quipped that “If they looked at some of my pleadings, they might dispute that one too.”
The candidate joked that he had selected Austin, Texas as the site of his campaign launch. Actually, he explained, he was in the Texas capital to attend the South by Southwest music festival, where he has been giving advice to young artists and helping promote the LegalZoom website.
Escalante complained that the ballot designation “is all stacked in favor of the prosecutors.” He commented that “I know I have something to contribute, it’s a shame they would punish a volunteer temporary judge.”
Limiting the candidate’s ability to use such a title, he said, contributes to the high cost of judicial campaigns, forcing candidates to use expensive and “deceptive” slate mailers. “How long can this society be influenced by junk mail?,” he asked rhetorically.
Escalante said he would run an “anti-slate campaign” and had “asked all the other candidates to join me in promising not to use them.”
Hertz said he had also asked, or might ask, the registrar-recorder to review the designations of Coen’s other two opponents, Lawrence Kaldor and Craig Gold. Kaldor, a civil practitioner, has asked to be listed as “Domestic Violence Litigator,” while Gold, a deputy district attorney handling asset forfeiture cases, submitted “Criminal Trial Prosecutor.”
Pro Bono Work
Hertz explained that Kaldor, who could not be reached for comment late yesterday, had submitted documentation regarding his work as a pro bono attorney for the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law. Hertz questioned whether those activities constitute a “principal” occupation, as the statute requires for a ballot designation.
Regarding Gold, Hertz said he was “analyzing” whether Gold “truly does trials,” or whether he should be more properly designated as “Deputy District Attorney.” Gold told the MetNews that while most asset forfeiture cases settle, some do go to trial, so he sees no problem having “trial” as part of his ballot designation.
Any candidate or voter dissatisfied with a ballot designation after the registrar’s review can challenge it in court.
Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company