Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, December 3, 2019


Page 1


Deputy District Attorney Kelly Kelley Draws No Opposition

Five More Candidates for Los Angeles Superior Court Seats File Nominating Papers




A third Los Angeles deputy district attorney—Kelly Michelle Kelley—has emerged unopposed for a Los Angeles Superior Court open seat.

Her sole potential rival, Deputy District Attorney Scott Andrew Yang, filed his nominating papers for Office No. 162, where he’s pitted against criminal defense attorney David D. Diamond and civil rights lawyer Caree Annette Harper. Yang had taken out nominating papers for eight seats.

Kelley, who goes by the name of “Kelly Kelley” but was running as “Michelle Kelley,” was admitted to practice in 2007. Her law degree is from Seattle University.

Five Candidates

Five candidates, in all, filed nominating papers yesterday for Los Angeles Superior Court open seats, as of press time. Two of the ballot designations appear to be susceptible to challenges.

The candidates, with their office numbers and ballot designations are:

Myanna Dellinger, “Law Professor/Attorney,” Office No. 72;  Mark MacCarley, “Retired Army General,” Office No. 129; Bruce A. Moss, “Attorney/Judge Pro-Tem,” Office No. 129; Linda L. Sun, “Deputy Attorney General, State of California,” Office No. 42; Scott Andrew Yang, “Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles,” Office No. 162.

‘Attorney/Judge Pro-Tem’

The ballot designation chosen by Moss, a West Hills private practitioner, is similar to that which a candidate, Eugene Salute, sought to use in 2004. He wanted to be billed as an “Attorney/Temporary Judge” but the Los Angeles Superior Court issued a writ commanding the registrar-recorder to disallow that designation.

Elections Code §13107 bars ballot designations that “would mislead the voter.” The Court of Appeal for this district held in 1988 in Luke v. Superior Court that to avoid confusion, “neither a court commissioner, nor any other individual who is not a ‘judge,’ as that term is defined in the Constitution and statutes of this state, may utilize a ballot designation containing the word ‘judge’ or a derivative thereof.”

That court seven years later made one exception, holding in Andrews v. Valdez that “Administrative Law Judge” could be used by a woman who held that title.

Aside from “Judge Pro-Tem” apparently running contrary to the holding in Luke, it could be questioned whether unpaid occasional service as a pro tem constitutes a “principal profession, vocation, or occupation” and whether “pro-tem” is actually two words, meaning that Moss’s desired designation exceeds the three-word limit.

In 2008,  a deputy attorney general, Bob Henry, was allowed to run as “Prosecutor Deputy Attorney-General” after he pointed to a dictionary that hyphenated “attorney general.”

‘Retired Army General’

MacCarley, a Glendale attorney, is seeking the same seat as Moss.

Sec. 20716(h)(4) of the Code of Regulations, promulgated by the Office of Secretary of State, provides:

“A candidate may not use the word “retired” in his or her ballot designation if that candidate possesses another more recent, intervening principal profession, vocation, or occupation.”

According to his law office website, he was a “United States Army Major General” until January 2015, and started his practice in February 2015.

Dellinger also runs the risk of a challenge to her designation. Her title at the University of South Dakota is “Associate Professor,” not “Professor.”

Challenge by Harper

Yesterday’s issue of the METNEWS reports that Harper said she will challenge the second and third words of the ballot designation of Diamond, who claims to be an “Attorney/Adjunct Professor.” Diamond was quoted as saying of Harper:

“This is the same candidate that asked me to throw her a fundraiser in my home, having never met me in person. Unfortunately, the only troublesome pattern is her erratic behavior such as spending time in custody for being in contempt of court and taking enormous sums of money from mentally challenged clients for doing little work. My very first anonymous donation received in this campaign was from an attorney that wished me luck and told me Ms. Harper ‘is a joke and unethical; actually she is unfit for the bench.’

“While I make no such comment on her practice, this attorney seemed well-versed with my opponent.”

Her response is:

“David Diamond endorsed me in writing on October 31, 2019 and offered to “help in anyway I can” so he must be confused since his game of musical seats at the County Recorders office didn’t pan out. Now he is electing to run a dirty mudslinging campaign. Someone should really educate Mr. Diamond on civil rights. Many advocates/activists have been detained, jailed, and even killed for standing up for their Constitutional rights and the rights of others. That is what I do: I stand. The interjection of overcharging is a myth intended to distract from relevant issues. Mr. Diamond seems bent on mud slinging early on, but I’m going to take the more judicious route and not throw down with him today.”

Harper represented a woman, Marlene Pinnock, in a federal civil rights action based on a beating by a California Highway Patrol officer, obtaining a $1.5 million settlement from the CHP. U.S. District Court Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California in 2015 found Harper in civil contempt and had her arrested based on her refusal to answer his questions concerning "the nature" of her "first encounter" with her client and other matters she contended were privileged.

She was held for two days. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed the dismissal of Harper’s action against Wright.


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