Friday, February 12, 2016
Three Lawyers File Last-Day Challenges Against Judges
Kaddo, Revel, Solorzano, Sztraicher, Fox and Santana Facing Opponents
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
One of three lawyers who filed declarations of intent to run against sitting Los Angeles Superior Court judges on the last day of the filing period said yesterday he intends to proceed with the contest, while a spokesperson for another said he might not go through with a challenge.
Sole practitioner Stepan Baghdassarian, 54, said he intends to return nominating documents for the seat of Judge James Kaddo, 81.
“I’m not necessarily running against Judge Kaddo,” with whom he has “no issues,” but on his own merits, Baghdassarian told the MetNews. He is running for the bench, he said, because he wants to be a judge but doesn’t think Gov. Jerry Brown would appoint him.
“I have no relationship with him,” Baghdassarian said of the governor. “And I never worked for a large law firm.”
Eight Years Inactive
A graduate of UCLA and Whittier College School of Law, Baghdassarian was admitted to the State Bar in 1989 but was on inactive status from April 2007 to December of last year. He said he would run on his qualifications “as a lawyer and a businessman.”
In addition to his Sherman Oaks law practice, he is “chief tasting officer” for WinePlus, a Los Angeles-based online wine retailer, and president of Bar Depot, a wine and liquor wholesale store in Van Nuys.
He has not hired a campaign consultant, and said he was not in a position to say how much he would be prepared to spend on the campaign.
“Let’s see what happens,” he said. “If I do not get elected, so be it. But I’m going to put time and effort in from now until June.”
Kaddo did not return a phone call, but Hal Dash of Cerrell Associates, which represented the judge when he pushed aside a previous challenge 18 years ago, said the judge was “an old friend” and that he and Kaddo have been in discussion about whether the firm would be involved in his effort this time.
Maybe No Challenge
Meanwhile, Naser Khoury’s spokesperson said the Van Nuys sole practitioner’s filings for the seats of Judge Marsha Revel and Kathryn Solorzano does not necessarily signify he will run against either. “We’re still looking” for an opportunity to run for an open seat, she said, but that with only three such races so far, the candidate wanted to create additional options by this past Wednesday’s deadline for filings by incumbents and their challengers.
Deputy District Attorneys Debra Archuleta and Steven Schreiner filed declarations of intent to run for Revel’s seat before Revel filed hers, but both said they will not run against the incumbent and would run for open seats instead. Fred Huebscher, a campaign consultant who filed Revel’s DOI but said he is not working for the campaign at this point, said she might not need a consultant because there is “absolutely no chance of Naser Khoury beating Marsha Revel,” who has served on the court for over 30 years.
The third challenger to file Wednesday was Michael Ribons, a Woodland Hills attorney who filed for the seat of Judge Gustavo Sztraicher. Ribons took out paperwork for the seat last month, but said at the time that he chose Sztraicher’s seat number at random and did not actually intend to challenge an incumbent.
He could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Deadline Coming Up
Tuesday of next week is the deadline for filing DOIs for seats in which no incumbent is running, of which there are three—Office No. 11, for which Archuleta and Deputy District Attorney Javier Perez have filed; Office No. 42, for which Schreiner and Deputy District Attorneys Efrain Aceves and Susan Jung Townsend have filed; and Office No. 84, for which Deputy District Attorney Philip Marshall and Perez have filed.
Besides Kaddo, Revel, Solorzano, and Sztraicher, the only judges who can face possible challenges are Elden Fox—whose seat has drawn DOIs from Deputy District Attorney David Berger and Deputy Attorney General Kim Nguyen—and Ray Santana.
Berger and Nguyen have both said they will not run against Fox. Aceves, sole practitioner Eric Ibisi, Deputy District Attorney Fred Mesropi, and Commissioner Cynthia Zuzga all filed for Santana’s seat before the incumbent.
Aceves flatly told the MetNews yesterday he will not run against Santana. Mesropi previously said he will not make a decision on which seat to run for before Tuesday, while Zuzga and Ibisi did not respond to requests for comment after Santana filed.
Neither Solorzano nor Deputy Public Defender Tami Warren, who filed for Solorzano’s seat on Tuesday, have returned MetNews phone calls, but sources said the incumbent was in the process of talking to campaign consultants.
Copyright 2016, Metropolitan News Company