Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Buckley: Judges Will Rally Behind Mackey
Kabateck Says ‘All Lawyers’ Should Support Challenged Jurist
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Daniel J. Buckley has predicted that the local judiciary will mobilize in support of the reelection bid by a veteran judge of the court, Malcolm Mackey, who has drawn an election challenge.
And Los Angeles County Bar Association President-Elect Brian Kabateck called upon “all lawyers” to get behind Mackey.
Buckley said Sunday that he and Assistant Presiding Judge Kevin Brazile “are confident that the entire Los Angeles judiciary will heartily support Judge Mackey in any contested election.”
The presiding judge also remarked:
“Both Judge Brazile and I have the utmost respect for Judge Mackey. He has served very well as a trial court judge during his entire judicial career.
Woodland Hills employment lawyer Anthony Lewis on Friday filed a declaration of intent to run for Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 33, occupied by Mackey, who filed his declaration on Jan. 29. Lewis said he will have no public comment until after he files his nominating papers, which would take place between Feb. 12 to March 9, unless he decides to back out of the contest.
There is a wide suspicion that Lewis has targeted Mackey because of his age, which is 88.
“In order to ensure an impartial judiciary all lawyers must support sitting judges who are challenged for baseless reasons and this includes age.”
He termed the jurist—who was elected to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1978 and to the Superior Court 10 years later—“a dedicated public servant who has given most of his professional life to serving the people of the state of California and the County of Los Angeles.”
Kabateck, a trial lawyer, noted that he appeared before Mackey within the past year. He said the judge is “sharp, smart, and a good man.”
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Randolph Hammock, who closely watches judicial elections, predicted Mackey’s victory.
“The citizens of Los Angeles County are quite fortunate to have someone with the experience and maturity of a Judge Mackey,” Hammock said, adding:
“I am confident that we will continue to do so.”
Noting that Lewis is “apparently a plaintiffs’ employment lawyer,” he observed that “it would be ironic if he is trying to cause Judge Mackey to essentially lose his job, due to his age.”
(Lewis says on his office website that he handles actions for discrimination “on the basis of any protected characteristic…such as age.”)
Hammock also expressed the view that judges “are elected officials who should be held accountable to the public, even, if need be, through the ballot box,” but said he would hope “that any attorney who decides to challenge a sitting judge would have a compelling reason to do so.”
Former PJs’ Support
Retired Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Robert M. Mallano—who has served as the Los Angeles Superior Court’s presiding judge—endorsed Mackey, declaring:
“Having reviewed appeals from decisions of Judge Mackey, I can readily say that he is a solid judge, well versed in the law, and always seeks a just decision. I will vote for him and urge others to do so, too.”
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert A. Dukes, a former presiding judge of the court, set forth:
“I have no knowledge of any valid reason for any election challenge of Judge Mackey. He is a dedicated and longstanding member of our bench, and a frequent attendee at judicial continuing education and bar programs continually honing his already exemplary skills. If the challenge is based upon his age, it is even more troubling as his long service presiding over thousands of litigated matters makes him one of the more knowledgeable and sage judges on our bench.”
Another former presiding judge, who remains on the court, is Victor E. Chavez.
“I have always found Judge Mackey to be a diligent colleague who regularly and aggressively participates in court and bar activities,” he said, adding:
“He has always demonstrated great respect for the law and attorneys who appear in our courts.”
Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Robert H. Philibosian, of counsel to Sheppard Mullin, labelled Mackey “a perceptive, skilled, dedicated, impartial and respected judge and a vital and engaging personality,” maintaining that there is “no reason why he should not continue his service on the bench.”
Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lawrence W. Crispo had this to say:
“Judge Mackey is an outstanding judge before whom I appeared as counsel and who mentored me when I was newly appointed to the bench. He deserves the support of the bar.”
San Fernando Valley personal injury attorney John L. Moriarity characterized Mackey as “a fair Judge who treats all in his courtroom with respect.”
When assigned to Mackey’s court, he related, he goes there “with a sigh of relief as there are a few real ringers in the court system.”
Pomona attorney Robert L. Kern, a past president of the Eastern Bar Association, noted he has not seen Mackey “for a couple of years,” but conveyed an understanding that he “still has his wits about him,” and suggested:
“If no other reason than his age appears to provide the basis for the filing, it may not be a provable violation of the laws against age discrimination—but it would be a good reason to vote against the challenger.”
One longtime observer of the local political scene pointed out that Lewis “was admitted in 2005 which puts him just three years beyond the 10-year minimum requirement” for a Superior Court judgeship, under the state Constitution.
“If Mr. Lewis uses age as an issue,” he continued, “Judge Mackey may very well quote former President Ronald Reagan who famously said, ‘I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.’ ”
Reagan delivered that line during a 1984 presidential debate with challenger Walter Mondale, a former vice president.
Mackey Deserves Reelection
By LEE KANON ALPERT
(The writer is a partner in the San Fernando Valley law firm of Alpert, Barr & Grant. He is a past president of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association and a past chair of the Los Angeles County Judicial Procedures Commission.)
I have been honored to known Malcom Mackey for decades. We first encountered each other when I was a young attorney beginning a litigation career. When assigned to Judge Mackey’s court, I had trepidations. Rumor had it he was as tough of a judge to appear before as you could get. My experience was just the opposite as over the years others have told me, theirs was as well.
I found Malcom Mackey to be very knowledgeable, very reasonable (so long as one was properly prepared and wasn’t deceptive or misleading), he was incredibly perceptive, decisive, fair and yes compassionate to both the lawyers and the clients. His friends, acquaintances and those who really know Judge Mackey will also tell you he is as unbiased as one can get and treats all the same in his courtroom. From those who are fortunate enough to call him a friend, additionally know that diversity and lack of seeing ethnicity, gender or social preference are a quite trait he also enjoys.
Since that time I have had the pleasure of not only getting to know Judge Mackey in the courtroom, but on a professional basis while participating at numerous bar association and other related events. I have served with Judge Mackey in programs benefiting the poor, the underserved and other charitable organizations. He is the recipient of numerous well deserved awards for his judicial and personal acumen.
Malcom Mackey not only remains today an outstanding smart and experienced judge, but an outstanding human being who remains sharp and has taken advantage of the learning opportunities one can achieve with length of experience and age. The more we can get on the bench like Malcom Mackey, the better our judicial system would be. He more than deserves to retain his seat.
Consequently, I will support no one who chooses to seek his office in a judicial race against him regardless of their background or experience. He is one of those judges that had well-earned the right to remain on the bench so long has he desires and continues to perform as he does today.
Copyright 2018, Metropolitan News Company