Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Candidate Changes Ballot Designation, Heeding Criticism
Schreiner Anticipates Challenging Archuleta’s Designation; Aceves Says He Is Mulling Challenge to Molina’s
By ROGER M. GRACE, Editor
A statement in email by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge criticizing a judicial candidate’s ballot designation yesterday prompted the candidate to change it.
In other election developments, Deputy District Attorney Steven Schreiner, a candidate for an open seat, said he expects to seek a writ barring Deputy District Attorney Debra Archuleta from using the designation, “Violent Crimes Prosecutor,” and Deputy District Attorney E. Matthew Aceves related that he is considering a challenge to attorney Alicia Molina’s designation as “Domestic Violence Attorney.”
The criticism from the judge—who asked not to identified—came in an email to the MetNews. The newspaper quoted the judge’s statement in an email to the candidate in question, private practitioner Eric O. Ibisi—who is challenging Judge Ray Santana—seeking his comment.
The judge charged that Ibisi’s use of the designation, “Judge Pro Tem” is an “absolutely illegal ballot designation,” commenting:
“Even more troubling is the unbelievable fact that the Registrar’s Office accepted it!!”
The jurist pointed to the 1988 Court of Appeal case of Luke vs. Superior Court which involved a challenge by Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Sherill Luke, a candidate for the Superior Court, to the ballot designation of rival candidate Commissioner Jewell Jones, as “Judge, Los Angeles County (Acting).”
The appeals court held:
“We therefore hold that neither a court commissioner, nor any other individual who is not a ‘judge,’ as that term is defined in the Constitution and statutes of this state, may utilize a ballot designation containing the word ‘judge’ or a derivative thereof.”
Points to Canon
The judge drew attention to Canon 6D(9)(a) of the Code of Judicial Ethics, which provides:
“A temporary judge appointed under rule 2.810 of the California Rules of Court, from the time of the appointment and continuing indefinitely after the termination of the appointment, shall not use his or her title or service as a temporary judge (1) as a description of the lawyer’s current or former principal profession, vocation, or occupation on a ballot designation for judicial or other elected office….”
The judge remarked:
“Of course any attorney who is a candidate for judge must comply with these canons. As such, this act by Mr. Ibisi subjects him to State Bar discipline.”
Changes It Back
Ibisi initially used the designation of “Attorney at Law,” but last Friday, changed it. Yesterday afternoon, Ibisi’s campaign manager, Jasper Jackson, telephoned the MetNews to advise that Ibisi is “changing it back to ‘Attorney at Law.’ ”
He said the change was already accomplished, explaining that he sent an email to the Registrar-Recorder’s Office, in his capacity as Ibisi’s authorized representative.
Ibisi said later that he personally made the change by telephoning the Registrar-Recorder’s Office and that a confirmatory email was then sent. He insisted that he acted in good faith, explaining that he has volunteered as a judge pro tem “for 20 years.”
He at first said, “I have not made the final decision” as to the designation, explaining that he can change it until the time the ballots are printed, but later said, “I’m sure I’m going to stay” with the current designation because “I don’t want issues.”
Schreiner, a candidate for Office No. 11, an open seat, said he questions Archuleta’s designation because she is in the White Collar Crimes Unit, which doesn’t handle violent crimes. He related that he has spoken to “a couple of attorneys” about seeking a writ and declared:
“I anticipate doing it.”
Archuleta said that Attorney Fredric Woocher of Strumwasser & Woocher is representing her, and has assured her the designation will be judicially approved. She said the only case she has had in trial in the past year is a domestic violence case.
Schreiner’s designation is “Gang Murder Prosecutor.” Archuleta said she will not challenge it.
A member of the District Attorney’s Office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Archuleta has been hanging onto that case, left over from a previous assignment, in order to identify herself in the manner she’s doing.
Meanwhile, Aceves said yesterday he questions Molina’s designation because, as he understands it, she is actually an immigration attorney. He remarked that “it doesn’t appear to me” that her designation is accurate.
He said he is “not sure at this point” if he will challenge it, noting:
“It might not be the best use of my resources.”
Aceves’s own designation is “Child Molestation Prosecutor.” If it draws a challenge, he said, “I definitely will prevail.”
Molina did not respond to a request for comment.
Elections Code §13107(a)(3) says that ballot designations, with respect to non-incumbents, must be comprised of “[n]o more than three words designating either the current principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate, or the principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate during the calendar year immediately preceding the filing of nomination documents.”
Copyright 2016, Metropolitan News Company