Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Commissioner Lewis Draws LACBA’s Highest Rating In Campaign for Election as Superior Court Judge
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Jacqueline H. Lewis has been rated “exceptionally well qualified,” the County Bar’s highest possible rating, for election as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, the MetNews learned yesterday.
The rating was issued by the Judicial Elections Evaluations Committee, and is final.
JACQUELINE H. LEWIS
Superior Court Commissioner
Under the committee’s rules, candidates who provide responses to a questionnaire detailing professional experience, along with 75 references, are invited to interview with a subcommittee. Candidates are divided up so that all candidates in a given race are interviewed by the same subcommittee.
The subcommittee then provides a recommended rating for each candidate, including those who were not interviewed, to the full committee, which then issues its own rating. Ratings of “exceptionally well qualified” and “well qualified” are final, while ratings of “qualified” and “not qualified” are tentative and may be appealed—if the candidate provided the background materials and interviewed with the subcommittee—to the full committee, which re-interviews the candidate and permits the candidate to submit additional materials.
Lewis is seeking election to the seat being vacated by Judge Michael Nash. Her opponents are B. Otis Felder, a former volunteer prosecutor, and Deputy District Attorney Dayan Mathai.
Mathai’s campaign consultant, Brendan Huffman, reported that the candidate was rated well qualified. Felder could not be reached for comment.
Besides Mathai, at least four other candidates received well-qualified ratings:
•Civil litigator Pamala F. Matsumoto confirmed that she had received the well-qualified rating. Her opponent, Deputy District Attorney Amy Carter, said she had received a rating, but declined to disclose it.
•Superior Court Commissioner Debra L. Losnick said she had been rated well-qualified. Her opponent, Deputy District Attorney Shannon L. Knight, could not be reached.
•Judge James Pierce said he was happy with his well-qualified rating. He quoted the committee’s rules—which say that a candidate is well-qualified if he or she possesses “professional ability, experience, competence, integrity and temperament indicative of superior fitness to perform the judicial function with a high degree of skill and effectiveness”—and said “who can argue with that.”
Pierce’s opponent, Deputy District Attorney Carol Najera—who received a not-qualified rating when she ran for an open seat 10 years ago—confirmed yesterday that she did not participate in the process and was rated not-qualified. She had previously told the MetNews that she did not intend to cooperate with the committee, which had downgraded her from a tentative rating of qualified when she appealed in her previous campaign.
•Superior Court Referee Steven Klaif could not be reached for comment, but sources close to the process said he was rated well-qualified. His opponent, Deputy District Attorney Stacy Wiese, could not be reached.
In other races:
Deputy District Attorney Carol Rose was the only candidate contacted by the MetNews who said she had not received a rating. Rose said she was busily preparing for trial and had not recently checked her personal email. Candidates who were reached indicated that the ratings were sent out late Friday.
Rose’s opponent, former state legislator Charles M. Calderon, did not return a phone call.
Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Tom Griego said he did not want to discuss his rating while in the office, and did not call back by press time. His opponents, Deputy District Attorney Steven P. Schreiner and criminal defense attorney Andrew M. Stein, could not be reached.
Superior Court Commissioner Emma Castro could not be reached, but a source said she was rated qualified. Her opponent, Deputy District Attorney Joan M. Chrostek, could not be reached.
Criminal defense attorney Marc A. Gibbons said he was rated qualified and did not know whether he would appeal. His opponent, Deputy District Attorney, Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong, could not be reached.
Retired Superior Court Referee Arnold William Mednick said he was rated qualified and would not appeal. “I have a great respect for the opinion of the committee,” he said, noting that he served on the JEEC a number of years ago.
Mednick’s opponent, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Cooper, could not be reached.
Candidates in other races could not be reached, and their ratings could not be immediately learned.
Copyright 2014, Metropolitan News Company