Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, August 19, 2016


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Candidate Schreiner Again Challenges Archuleta’s Ballot Designation





Deputy District Attorney


Deputy District Attorney


A hearing has been set for next week on a Los Angeles Superior Court candidate’s challenge to his runoff opponent’s ballot designation.

The hearing on Steven Schreiner’s petition to bar Debra Archuleta from describing herself as a “Violent Crimes Prosecutor” on the Nov. 8 ballot is set for Wednesday before retired Judge Robert O’Brien, who is sitting on assignment.

Archuleta and Schreiner, both deputy district attorneys, emerged as the top two candidates in June’s primary. Archuleta topped the field of four with 47 percent of the vote, to Schreiner’s 26 percent.

Schreiner’s ballot designation was and is “Gang Homicide Prosecutor.”

Schreiner also challenged the designation before that election, but Judge Mary Strobel ruled in April that Archuleta, although assigned to the White Collar Crimes Division at the time, was entitled to use her preferred description because she spent the vast majority of her time last year and this year working on violent crime cases.

Those included a complex attempted murder case that she brought with her from the Family Violence Division, to which she was previously assigned, along with a number of post-conviction matters.

Under the Elections Code, a ballot designation for persons not holding office is to consist of up to three words describing the candidate’s “principal professions, vocations, or occupations” within the past year, and the designation must be barred if it is misleading.

Prior Ruling

Strobel explained in her ruling that under state regulations, “principal” is defined to mean that the candidate devotes “substantial…time and effort” to the activity, which need only be “one of” the person’s primary professions, vocations, or occupations.

“The designation ‘Violent Crimes Prosecutor’ fairly describes one of Archuleta’s ‘primary, main or leading’ professional endeavors both currently and for the calendar year preceding the filing of her nomination documents,” the judge wrote. “Therefore, that designation is not false or misleading.”

Schreiner’s new petition was filed Tuesday. He is represented by Stuart Leviton of Reed & Davidson.

New Argument

In a memorandum in support of the petition, Leviton notes that Archuleta began a new assignment last month, as a filing deputy in the Charge Evaluation Division, and argues that she cannot use her previous designation because that assignment does not involve going to court.

The attorney argued:

“Filing deputies review police reports and file drug cases, theft cases, and other cases…Filing deputies generally do not make court appearances and are not trial counsel As a deputy in the Charge Evaluation Division, it is not a primary job duty for Archuleta to prosecute violent crimes. “

 Leviton further contended that Archuleta was not a “violent crimes prosecutor” last year. He cited a March 29 report in the MetNews, which cited “[c]olleagues of Archuleta” as suggesting that the attempted murder case she continued to handle “would have come to a conclusion by now—by plea bargain or retrial—if she were not seeking to drag it out in order to be able to represent that she is presently handling a matter involving a violent crime.”

Because she was handling 12 white collar cases at the time, Leviton argued, the attempted murder case constituted eight percent of her caseload, which he said was insufficient to justify the ballot title based on the statute.

Archuleta’s attorney, Dale K. Larson of Strumwasser & Woocher, did not return a MetNews phone call.


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