Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Hunter Counters Writ Petition by Filing Cross-Petition
Says if Michel May Use Word ‘Prosecutor,’ in Ballot Designation, She Should Be Allowed to Do So
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Redondo Beach Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sydne Jane Michel, a candidate for Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 16, yesterday filed a petition seeking an order to Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder to strip rival contender Patricia “Patti” Hunter of her ballot designation as “Prosecuting Attorney, City of Los Angeles,” and Hunter countered with a cross-petition.
Michel contends that ‘Prosecutor’ is part of her office title and that the word is not part of Hunter’s title. In the cross-petition, Hunter declares:
“Notwithstanding the parity and principles of equal protection under the Federal and State Constitutions that are at play with regard to the current ballot designations of Hunter and Michel, Michel seeks an unfair advantage and seeks to employ a double standard—whereby Michel would use the term ‘Prosecutor,’ but Hunter would not get to use the term ‘Prosecuting Attorney.’
“If, on the other hand, the term ‘Prosecutor’ or any derivation thereof, is not acceptable under California Elections Code section 13107, then Hunter alleges that neither she nor Michel be allowed to use such term.”
The cross-petition asserts that if the court grants Michel’s petition, “then it must, in the interests of justice, due process, equal protection, and democracy, also grant this Cross-Petition.”
A memorandum of points and authorities accompanying Michel’s writ petition argues that “[c]andidate Hunter’s ‘actual job title,’ under the mandates of the current Elections Code, is ‘Deputy City Attorney, City of Los Angeles.’ ” That was that designation that Hunter used in the primary.
Attached to Michel’s points and authorities are a memorandum of understanding between the city and the deputy city attorneys’ bargaining unit referring to the position of “Deputy City Attorney”; an email from Nancy Chan, in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Payroll & Special Funds Division, confirming that Hunter “is employed…as Deputy City Attorney IV”; and a declaration from a former deputy city attorney concerning the title prosecutors in the office use.
Melanie Chavira, now city prosecutor for Redondo Beach (under who Michel works), recounts in her declaration that she was a deputy Los Angeles city attorney from March 2002-April 2012, and says:
“On the record when stating our appearance in court we always identified ourselves as a ‘Deputy City Attorney,’ never ‘Prosecuting Attorney.’
“On our business cards, our actual job title was listed as Deputy City Attorney, never ‘Prosecuting Attorney.’ ”
Designation Termed Misleading
The petition also alleges that Hunter’s new designation is misleading.
“The designation ‘Prosecuting Attorney, City of Los Angeles’ suggests and implies that candidate Hunter is the Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Los Angeles, holding a senior leadership position that would typically be thought of as the ‘City Prosecutor,’ ” the petition says. “Not even Michael Feuer, the City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles, uses that title.”
Elections Code §13107 bars designations that “would mislead the voter.”
Hunter on Friday told the MetNews:
“The documents I filed with the Registrar’s office, including the declaration from Los Angeles City Attorney Michael Feuer, fully support my ballot designation under the new legislation. My designation accurately reflects my actual job title as defined by charter, statute or other governing instrument.”
Neither she nor office spokesperson Frank T. Mateljan III responded to an inquiry Sunday as to what title is used on business cards and on papers filed in courts.
Michel is represented by Fredric D. Woocher of Strumwasser & Woocher LLP. Acting for Hunter is Bradley Hertz of the Sutton Group.
Opposition papers, for both candidates, are due Thursday at 9 a.m. and replies are due by the end of the court day on Friday. A hearing is set for Monday before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr.
Copyright 2018, Metropolitan News Company