Monday, March 10, 2014
Three Prosecutors Headed for Bench as Candidate Filing Closes
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Deputy district attorneys Ann Park, Serena Murillo, and Chris Frisco were, as a practical matter, assured of election to the Los Angeles Superior Court Friday after no one returned nominating papers to oppose them.
It has been known since the end of the declaration-of-intent period that at least that many candidates would wind up with no opponent. But it could not be known for certain who those fortunate contenders would be, as several candidates filed multiple declarations and thus had the option, until Friday, of choosing among multiple possibilities.
One such candidate, Deputy District Attorney Helen Kim, returned papers for the seat being sought by fellow Deputy District Attorney Alison Matsumoto Estrada.
Kim’s campaign consultant, Fred Huebscher, declined to comment for publication on the reason for targeting Estrada, after filing declarations for seven other seats. Kim paid a filing fee of $1,812.29 for each of the eight contests.
Another candidate with options, former Superior Court Referee and Administrative Law Judge Arnold Mednick, chose to oppose Deputy District Attorney Andrew Cooper. His alternative was to enter a race against Deputy District Attorney Stacy Weise and Superior Court Referee Steven Klaif.
Mednick told the MetNews he picked the contest against Cooper because he didn’t want to run against Klaif, with whom he served as a referee. Both of them were laid off last year along with all of the court’s other full-time referees, with Klaif staying on with the court on “as needed” basis while Mednick took a short-term position as a state administrative law judge.
Another candidate, criminal defense attorney Andrew Stein, had declared for two seats but previously said he would run against Deputy District Attorney Steven Schreiner and Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Tom Griego.
David Gould, the campaign consultant for the three unopposed candidates—as well as for Estrada and Cooper—said he was excited for the three and optimistic about the other races.
Frisco, Park and Murillo are “very fine candidates and will be a great asset to the bench.” He said their election would continue the diversification of the bench, since Park is Korean-American, Murillo is a Latina, and Frisco “a good Italian-American boy.”
Murillo and Frisco will be continuing a family tradition as well. Murillo is married to Superior Court Judge Christian Gullon, and Frisco is the son of longtime, now retired, Superior Court Judge Charles Frisco.
The final list of candidates, which could not be officially confirmed with the Registrar-Recordr’s Office at press time, with ballot designations in parentheses, is:
•Office No. 22, Amy Carter (Sex Crimes Prosecutor) and Pamala F. Matsumoto (Administrative Law Judge) for the seat of Judge Michael Solner, who retired last month.
•Office No. 54, Shannon L. Knight (Gang Homicide Prosecutor) and Debra L. Losnick (Superior Court Commissioner), for the seat now held by Judge Lance Ito.
•Office No. 61, B. Otis Felder (Deputy City Prosecutor), Jacqueline H. Lewis (Superior Court Commissioner), and Dayan Mathai (Gang Homicide Prosecutor), for the seat now held by Judge Michael Nash.
•Office No. 72, Frisco (Criminal Gang Prosecutor) for the seat now held by Judge Joseph DiLoreto.
•Office No. 76, Estrada (Government Corruption Prosecutor) and Kim (Violent Crimes Prosecutor), for the seat now held by Judge Harvey Giss.
•Office No. 82, Park, for the seat now held by Judge Arthur M. Lew.
•Office No. 87, Griego (Criminal Gang Prosecutor), Schreiner (designation not confirmed at press time) and Stein (Gang Homicide Attorney), for the seat now held by Judge Rex Heeseman.
•Office No. 90, Murillo (Sexual Predator Prosecutor) for the seat now held by Judge Daniel Lopez.
•Office No. 97, Teresa P. Magno (Gang Murder Prosecutor), and Songhai “Sonny” Armsted (designation not confirmed at press time), for the seat formerly held by Judge David Milton, who retired last month.
•Office No. 107, Emma Castro (Superior Court Commissioner) and Joan M. Chrostek (Major Narcotics Prosecutor), for the seat now held by Judge Bob S. Bowers Jr.
•Office No. 113, Klaif (Superior Court Referee) and Wiese (Criminal Homicide Prosecutor), for the seat now held by Judge R. Bruce Minto, who is retiring this month.
•Office No. 117, Carol Najera (Gang Criminal Prosecutor) and James B. Pierce (Judge of the Superior Court).
•Office No. 138, Marc A. Gibbons (Trial Attorney) and Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong (Gang Homicide Prosecutor), for the seat now held by Judge Carlos Uranga.
•Office No. 157, Cooper (Gang Homicide Prosecutor) and Mednick (Administrative Law Judge), for the seat formerly held by Judge Jessica Perrin Silvers, who retired last month.
At least one ballot designation appeared headed for challenge. Mathai’s consultant, Brendan Huffman, said he doubted that Felder, an admiralty lawyer who helps the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office as a volunteer, can legally identify himself as a prosecutor on the ballot.
Also, Huebscher said that Carter, whom he is advising, may challenge Matsumoto’s designation, since she is now working as a civil litigator.
Felder and Matsumoto could not be reached late Friday for comment.
Copyright 2014, Metropolitan News Company