Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, March 19, 2014


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Judge to Decide if ‘Violent Crimes Prosecutor’ Designation Stands

Helen Kim Has Until 5 p.m. Today to File Opposition to Alison Matsumoto Estrada’s Writ Petition; Pamela Matsumoto May Respond to Amy Carter’s Petition by Noon Tomorrow


By a MetNews Staff Writer





Deputy District Attorney


Deputy District Attorney


Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin yesterday issued an alternative writ ordering county Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan to either disallow part-time Deputy District Attorney Helen Kim’s chosen ballot designation of “Violent Crimes Prosecutor” or to show cause on Monday why the designation should stand.

Kim is locked in a battle with Deputy District Attorney Alison Matsumoto Estrada for Office No. 76 on the June ballot.

Logan has disavowed any interest in how the court decides the matter. Kim, as real party in interest, has until 5 p.m. today to submit opposition.

A hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Monday in Department 85, where Judge James Chalfant sits.



Contemporaneous Hearing

At the same time that proceeding is being conducted, one of like nature will be taking place in Department 86 before retired Judge Robert O’Brien, sitting on assignment.

That jurist will act on the petition filed by Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Amy Carter which challenges the ballot designation of private attorney Pamela Matsumoto as an “Administrative Law Judge”—a position she held from July 1, 2012-Aug. 1, 2013. Carter and Matsumoto are seeking election to Office No. 22.

O’Brien yesterday gave Pamela Matsumoto until tomorrow at noon to present written opposition.

Bradley W. Hertz of The Sutton Law Firm is representing Carter. He got a hearing set by a different route: an ex parte to shorten time.

Part-Time Filing Deputy

Kim works three days a week as a “filing deputy,” making the call as to which cases that come to her unit for review warrant a prosecution.

The writ was not sought on the ground that Kim, who does not try cases, is other than a “prosecutor” of violent criminals. Rather, the writ petition acknowledges that she is a “prosecutor,” but asserts:

“Although Ms. Kim, as a part-time deputy district attorney, may have filing responsibility for some number of ‘violent’ crimes, the vast majority of cases for which Ms. Kim has filing responsibility do not constitute ‘violent’ crimes.”

In a declaration attached to the petition, Carter said:

“Based on my understanding of the types of cases presented for consideration to Ms. Kim’s unit, a small percentage of the cases can fairly be characterized as ‘violent’ crimes.”

Supporting Declaration

A filing deputy in Pasadena, David Dver, said in a declaration:

“A ‘violent’ felony has a specific meaning under California Penal Code Section 667.5(c). I estimate that at most, 5% of the cases I evaluate as a general filing deputy involve ‘violent’ felonies, as that term is defined in the Penal Code.”

He added:

“Certain ‘violent’ offenses are reviewed for filing by special units or the Victim Impact Program (‘VIP’). The filing of allegations of murder or attempted murder and violent gang related offenses are almost always handled by a special unit. Hardcore Gang Division. Similarly, alleged sex crimes and domestic violence crimes are handled by the VIP Deputy-in-charge. As a general filing deputy I am not usually involved with these cases.”

Kim yesterday declined comment, saying in an email:

“My ballot title is being challenged so I cannot speak on the matter until the completion of the litigation.”

Stuart L. Leviton of Reed & Davidson, LLP drafted the Matsumoto Estrada’s petition.


Copyright 2014, Metropolitan News Company