Monday, May 9, 2016
Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 120
A challenger in a judicial race has the burden, as we see it, of showing that the incumbent is performing as a judge in an unsatisfactory manner.
Attorney Eric O. Ibisi is running against Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ray Santana. Not only has he failed to demonstrate that Santana is doing a shoddy job, he is not even attempting to make any such showing.
Ibisi won’t say why he is challenging Santana. Refusing to be interviewed by this newspaper or even by the Los Angeles Times, he is a candidate lurking in the shadows.
His election bid is plainly a farce. But that does not make it a laughing matter. The challenge is, in reality, despicably cruel.
When Ibisi filed his declaration of intent to run for Office No. 120, it was common knowledge that Santana was ill. Yet, this is far from the situation that existed in 1980 when Burton Bach successfully challenged Superior Court Judge Kenneth Chang who had terminal cancer, and had taken the bench only three times during the previous one-year period. Santana had been fully performing the functions of a Superior Court judge, even after learning that he is in an early stage of Parkinson’s disease.
Right now, he’s on sick leave. Until medication starts taking effect, and he can return to the bench, he should have rest, not aggravation.
The challenge—one that appears to be merely a lark for Ibisi or a desperate gamble by him that Santana’s state of health will cause him to leave office before the election—spawns a need for the judge to engage in fundraising. The defeat of then-Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Pierce two years ago by a prosecutor who plainly lacked suitability for the bench demonstrates that a judge’s incumbency is not, alone, a guarantee of success at the polls.
A financial burden is generated for Santana and his wife at a time that they are facing the necessity of diverting their savings to those medical treatments that are not covered, or not fully covered, by insurance.
While there is the prospect that Santana will seek and receive a disability retirement before his next six-year term expires, it is unthinkable that any governor, even Jerry Brown, would appoint as his replacement anyone so irresponsible as Ibisi.
We endorse Santana.
Copyright 2016, Metropolitan News Company