Monday, February 10, 2014
Two New Candidates Enter Judicial Contests as Deadline Nears
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Two new candidates for Los Angeles Superior Court emerged Friday as today’s filing deadline approached.
Superior Court Commissioner Debra Losnick filed Friday for the seat being vacated by Judge Lance Ito. Deputy District Attorney Shannon Knight filed for that seat Jan. 27, while criminal defense attorney Marc A. Gibbons took out the paperwork but had not filed it as of Thursday.
Gibbons also took out a form to run for the seat of Judge Carlos Uranga. Deputy District Attorney Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong is running for that post.
Also Friday, Deputy City Attorney Songhai Miguda-Armstead told the MetNews she was nearing a decision on which seat to file for, and might file for more than one. While today is the last day to file a declaration of intent to run for any of the 14 open seats in the June 3 primary, a candidate may file for multiple seats, postponing a decision on which one to actually run for until the nominating period, which ends March 7.
Each declaration of intent, however, must be accompanied by a filing fee of more than $1,800.
Losnick said she had no particular reason for choosing the Ito seat in which to run. She said her candidacy was a “spur of the moment” decision, and that she didn’t know how much she would spend but that she is likely to hire a campaign consultant.
She entered the race, she said, one the advice of a friend who noted that she had “worked really hard, for a long time, in a tough climate.” Losnick has sat in juvenile court for 23 years, as a referee from 1990 to 1996, and as a commissioner since then.
Being a judge rather than a commissioner would give her a chance to move into the leadership of the court, she said, because as a commissioner, she cannot serve as a presiding or supervising judge or chair a committee.
She said she hoped that her “proven record” on the juvenile bench would gain favor with the broader public. She noted that other subordinate judicial officers who served in juvenile court, including now-Judges Donna Groman and Zeke Zeidler, were elected to open seats in hotly contested races.
Losnick is married to fellow Commissioner Robert Totten, who also sits in juvenile court, but on the delinquency side. Losnick sits in a dependency department at the Children’s Court in Monterey Park.
Miguda-Armstead said she was running because, while she is “a prosecutor by training,” she is “very balanced” in her view of justice. “I look at the judicial system in a non-traditional way,” she explained, believing that non-violent crimes often need to be handled through means other than incarceration.
She has overseen programs involving non-violent misdemeanors committed by homeless people and recently returned veterans. She explained that often, those offenders commit “low-level” offenses and need drug treatment, medical help, or job assistance, rather than jail.
Her campaign, she added, is based in part on what she sees as a need for more African-American women on the bench.
Miguda-Armstead Thursday took out papers to run for 13 different seats, each of the open slots other than the one being sought by Deputy District Attorney Amy Carter, who has no declared opposition. Carter’s $500,000 war chest, she said, discouraged her.
She said she would announce her consultant and endorsements in the next few days.
Copyright 2014, Metropolitan News Company