Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Prosecutor, Commissioner File for Superior Court Seat
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Deputy District Attorney Frederick Mesropi and Superior Court Commissioner Cynthia Zuzga yesterday filed declarations of intent to run for the seat of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ray Santana.
Mesropi told the MetNews it was his understanding that Santana, a 2008 appointee of then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was not going to run for reelection. Santana, 63, did not return a MetNews phone call, but a court colleague said he was told that the judge was not running for another term because of health issues.
Mesropi is a lifelong resident of the San Fernando Valley. He graduated from California State University, Northridge and Southwestern Law School, and has been with the District Attorney’s Office for 15 years.
He currently prosecutes sex crimes and other violent offenses as a member of the VIP Unit, based in Van Nuys, and was previously assigned to the Hardcore Gang Division. Earlier assignments included East Los Angeles, Culver City, Airport Branch, Pasadena, Monrovia, Glendale, juvenile court in Sylmar, and Antelope Valley.
He said he had long wanted to become a judge, although his decision to run this year was spur-of-the-moment and he does not yet have a campaign budget. He also noted that he is active in the Armenian Bar Association.
He has hired Cerrell Associates, Inc. as his campaign consultants, the first judicial candidate to do so this cycle, although firm chairman Hal Dash said they are talking to a small number of other potential candidates.
Zuzga previously announced she would seek an open seat, and has hired consultant David Gould. Zuzga has been a commissioner since 2006 and was a deputy district attorney for 22 years before that.
She currently handles a traffic calendar in Bellflower, after having sat for four years in Central Arraignment Court downtown. Like Mesropi, she had hardcore gang and sex-crime assignments as a prosecutor.
Zuzga is a native of Michigan, having graduated from Michigan State University and Detroit College of Law, which was located in downtown Detroit before it became part of Michigan State University and relocated to East Lansing.
Sole practitioner Eric Ibisi, who has an office in the Westlake area, also has filed for the Santana seat.
He said his campaign manager will be Jasper Jackson, who has worked in local and legislative campaigns.
Copyright 2016, Metropolitan News Company