Thursday, March 17, 2016
Candidates Spar Over Validity of Ballot Designation
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Private practitioner Alicia Molina, a candidate for a Los Angeles Superior Court open seat, is disputing the allegation by a rival aspirant for the office, Deputy District Attorney E. Matthew Aceves, that her ballot designation as a “Domestic Violence Attorney” is misleading, in contravention of a provision of the Elections Code.
Aceves—who noted that he knew Molina when they were undergraduate classmates at UCLA—told the MetNews Tuesday:
“It’s my understanding she’s an immigration attorney, with offices out of Huntington Park.”
He expressed uncertainty as to whether he would seek a writ to require the Registrar-Recorder’s Office to reject her designation, explaining:
“I’m looking to see how I can best use my resources, and I’m not sure that that would be the best use of my resources at this point. I still have to consult with David Gould.”
Gould is his campaign adviser, as he is for a candidate for five of the seven seats that will be on the June 7 ballot.
Molina said in an e-mail Tuesday night—received too late to be included in a yesterday’s news story on contested designations—that she is “both a Domestic Violence Attorney as well as an Immigration attorney.”
The candidate explained:
“While I do immigration, I also serve clients with Domestic Violence issues [u]nder the Violence against Women’s Act, VAWA, as well as help women suffering from Domestic Violence obtain U visas.”
The federal Violence against Women’s Act permits civil actions in U.S. District Courts by women against their attackers. “U visas” are issued, according to a State Department website, to persons who were victims “of certain criminal activities that either occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws” who are assisting U.S. authorities.
“I have been a volunteer for two years at the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law where I assist many women who are victims of Domestic Violence by helping them with Pro Bono legal services for temporary restraining orders, divorces, paternity suits, and custody issues. A large portion of the clients at the Harriet Buhai are victims of Domestic Violence.”
Under Elections Code §13107(a)(3), in order to qualify as a ballot designation, what is listed must be “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.”
Aceves Criticizes Explanation
Aceves responded yesterday to Molina’s explanation by suggesting that she should “be more specific in her answer as to number of hours per month, number U-visas in the last year, number of hours in relation to her own immigration practice she volunteers at the Harriet Buhai Center.”
He asserted that “her designation does not pass the ‘smell test,’ so it should be incumbent upon her to justify her creative designation to the voters.”
The candidate added:
“Also, I know many attorneys who practice immigration law and are very proud of the work they do, so I’m not sure why she finds the need to be disingenuous and misleading instead of proudly embracing her primary profession as an immigration attorney.”
Molina also had an additional comment yesterday:
“I welcome the challenge as my record speaks for itself. In contrast to Mr. Aceves who is running under his middle name.”
His first name is Ephraim.
Another ballot designation that has drawn attention is that of Deputy Public Defender Tami Warren, who is challenging Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathryn Solorzano. She is claiming to be a “Court Appointed Counsel.”
However, critics have noted that appointments are made of the Public Defender’s Office, which assigns deputies to the cases.
As to whether a writ proceeding will be instituted to challenge the designation, Solorzano said:
“We are working on that.”
In a race for an open seat, Deputy District Attorney Steven Schreiner has said that he anticipates challenging the designation of a rival in the race, Deputy District Attorney Debra Archuleta. She is claiming to be a “Violent Crimes Prosecutor,” though she is in the White Collar Crimes unit.
Copyright 2016, Metropolitan News Company