Monday, March 24, 2014
Cooper Recants Allegation That Mednick Hid His Most Recent Employment
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Deputy District Attorney
ARNOLD WILLIAM MEDNICK
A candidate for a Los Angeles Superior Court open seat backtracked on Friday on the allegation that his opponent, in seeking to use the ballot designation of “Administrative Law Judge,” tried to cover up having been in law practice subsequent to leaving that post in January 2013.
Under a provision of the California Code of Regulations, a candidate must use a designation that represents his or her most recent pursuit.
Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Andrew Cooper, whose writ petition challenging the designation is slated to be acted upon this morning, said in a reply to opposition that he is withdrawing the allegation that his campaign rival, Arnold William Mednick, has been practicing law.
The reply, drafted by attorney Bradley W. Hertz, says:
“Based on Petitioner’s initial research regarding Real Party, it appeared to Petitioner that Real Party was a practicing attorney affiliated with the Law Office of Steven Bryson. In reviewing Real Party’s Preliminary and Supplemental Opposition Briefs, and in speaking with Real Party, it appears that Petitioner is not a practicing attorney, with Steven Bryson’s office or otherwise (although as he is in pro per in this case, I suppose Real Party now could be considered a practicing attorney).”
In the March 17 writ petition, verified by Cooper, this was alleged:
“As of February 11, 2014, Mednick was affiliated with the Offices of Steven Bryson, a bankruptcy attorney. This is evidenced by Mednick’s listing with the California State Bar as of that date.”
It was recited that on Feb. 12, Mednick’s address was changed to that of a “personal mail box.”
The writ petition went on to say that “Petitioner alleges that Mednick’s changing of his State Bar listing was an attempt to hide the fact that he is a practicing attorney so he could attempt to make use of the ‘look back’ provision found in Elections Code section 13107(a)(3),” which permits use of a profession, occupation or vocation held within the past calendar year.
The petition asserted:
“Despite Mednick’s efforts to hide his current principal profession, vocation, and occupation - attorney - Petitioner alleges that Mednick is in fact a practicing attorney and should therefore be required to designate himself as such on the ballot and in the related official election materials.”
Cooper’s abandonment of the contention on Friday came after Mednick filed opposition on Thursday which contained his declaration, saying:
“After I left DSS, I had to change the address the State Bar released to the public. Since I had been a bench officer, I did not want to make my home address public record. Mr. Bryson was kind enough to let me use his office address (‘c/o Offices of Steven L. Bryson’ with no phone number, no fax number, and no email) till I got around to renting a private mail box. After I rented the mailbox, I changed the Bar website entry to show c/o a personal mailbox, also with no phone, fax or email indicated.”
With respect to erroneous references to his job status on the Internet, Mednick said in his opposition, he “is not responsible for removing from the infinity of the internet all odd, outdated, or inaccurate information that may be posted there by third parties.”
Reply to Opposition
In another about-face, Cooper’s reply retracted the concession in the petition that Mednick could be termed a “Retired Court Referee.” That was the last on Mednick’s list of 17 proposed ballot designations.
Hertz took note on Friday that under a regulation, a position from which a candidate has retired may not be listed if there was an intervening occupation. Mednick served as an administrative law judge after having been laid off as a Juvenile Court referee.
In the reply, Hertz pointed out that under another regulation, a person who is an active member of the State Bar may list “attorney” as a profession even if he or she does not practice law. Mednick has previously said that listing himself as an attorney would run afoul of the statutory provision prohibiting ballot designations that would “mislead the voter,” explaining:
“I have not worked as an attorney, representing clients, since about 1997.”
Raises New Point
Mednick is relying on the provision in Elections Code § 13107(a)(3) that permits reference to positions held “during the calendar year immediately preceding the filing of nomination documents.” Cooper is now asking that the “Administrative Law Judge” designation be disallowed because that code section limits ballot designations to “principal” professions, occupations, or vocations; a regulation provides says that “principal” connotes “a substantial involvement of time and effort”; and Mednick spent little time on the job in 2013.
“The evidence shows that Real Party spent, at most, a few weeks into January 2013 completing the written opinions of six cases he heard in September through November 2012.”
In the writ petition, Cooper charged that Mednick’s latest occupation was that of a lawyer, not an ALJ, and questioned whether he had worked as an ALJ in 2013, at all, in light of a 2012 letter thanking him for his service. However, the point was not made in the petition that Mednick’s activity as an ALJ in 2013 was not “substantial” and that the occupation therefore did not meet the definition of “principal.”
The matter is slated to be heard by retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O’Brien, serving on assignment. Also before O’Brien is Deputy District Attorney Amy Carter’s writ petition challenging the designation of her opponent, private practitioner Pamela Matsumoto, as an “Administrative Law Judge.”
Judge James Chalfant is scheduled today to hear the writ petition brought by Deputy District Attorney Alison Matsumoto Estrada, who is attacking the designation of part-time Deputy District Attorney Helen Kim, assigned to the complaint-filing section, as “Violent Crimes Prosecutor.”
Judge Luis Lavin has been assigned Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Dayan Mathai’s contest to the designation of private practitioner Otis Felder as “Los Angeles Prosecutor,” the label being based on his externship in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Volunteer Attorney Program. That matter will be heard tomorrow.
Cooper will be listed on the ballot as “Gang Homicide Prosecutor,” Carter as “Sex Crimes Prosecutor,” Matsumoto Estrada as “Government Corruption Prosecutor,” and Mathai as “Gang Homicide Prosecutor.”
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