Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, March 29, 2022


Page 8




Ryan Dibble

Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 67


There are three competing for Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 67. Two are well suited for the post. The third has talents, but they would more appropriately be devoted to undertakings other than judicial service.


ERNANDA MARIA BARRETO is a deputy district attorney. She is assigned to complex litigation, and detailed to the Victim Impact Program (“VIP”).

In her last three personnel evaluations, Barreto was ranked “Exceeded Expectations (Very Good).”

Kathleen Cady—now a victims’ rights attorney, but in 2018 a deputy district attorney who supervised Barreto—said in such an evaluation:

“Ms. Barreto can routinely be counted on to take any assignment or case or fill in whenever necessary. She continues to be a true team player. She does all this with a very calm, unflappable demeanor. She has an excellent knowledge of the laws relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, stalking, hate crimes and human trafficking She remains excited to learn and expand her knowledge and experience. She carries some of the most difficult cases. She routinely asks how can she help and often volunteers for assignments. She has excellent judgement. No matter the situation, she remains poised. She embraces the challenges that VIP cases and victims present.”

Cady said that Barreto “embraces new tasks and challenges,” “never complains,” “thoroughly prepares her cases” and possesses “excellent analytical skills.”

(On Sunday, Cady expressed the view that Barreto would “make an excellent judge,” saying that “she is fair, hard working, poised and has excellent judgment.”)

The 2018-19 evaluation of Barreto by another supervisor, relating to the period after Barreto moved to the Pasadena office, and provided in 2020, credits the deputy with being “creative and nimble in her ability to analyze a case and determine what needs to be done to effectively file and prosecute it.” The evaluation adds:

“Ms. Barreto is well-liked by her colleagues, support staff, the defense bar, and the bench. She always projects a calm and confident attitude.”

The most recent evaluation, in July of last year, says that Barreto “is a true star of the VIP Unit, able to handle any case effectively and professionally.”

It notes:

“From the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms. Barreto had two young children at home with no childcare. She never allowed that to affect her productivity or work product, and often worked after hours and on weekends to ensure her cases were well-prepared.”

The evaluation adds:

“She works extremely hard but never hesitates to volunteer to do more. She has a calm, focused personality that serves her well in her demanding assignment. She is a true asset to the District Attorney’s Office.”

Plainly, Barreto, 44, whose law degree is from Loyola, would also be an asset to the Los Angeles Superior Court bench.

A criminal defense lawyer said yesterday:

“I have worked many cases with Fernanda and she is very professional, hard working and I find her to be fair and honest.”

Barreto says she has tried “approximately 80 cases” and relates:

“I will seek to emulate judges that treat everyone who enters their courtroom with dignity and respect. Judges who give each person an opportunity to be heard. I also greatly admire judges who can admit when they have made a mistake.”


YAN DIBBLE is a deputy district attorney who also has what it takes to serve as a judge.

One Los Angeles Superior Court judge terms him an “amazing prosecutor,” adding that’s he’s “a really good guy with the perfect judicial temperament.”

A second judge says:

“I hold DDA Ryan Dibble in high regard. He is starting a murder trial in my court within the next few weeks, and I have had occasion to closely observe his work. He is humble, well prepared, ethical and a strong writer.”

Echoing those assessments is a judge who comments:

“Deputy District Attorney Ryan Dibble has frequently appeared in my court. His written work is very strong and his oral advocacy skills are outstanding. He is honest, humble and well-respected. He would make an outstanding judge.”

Another bench officer terms him an “excellent lawyer” who is “hard-working.”

Thirty-three Los Angeles Superior Court judges have endorsed him (with Barreto proclaiming 20 such endorsements, and a third candidate, Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes, having attracted four).

A deputy district attorney since 2006, Dibble was in the Major Narcotics Division from 2013-17, then shifted to his present assignment in the Hardcore Gang Division.

In his last two annual office evaluations in the narcotics unit, he was rated as having “exceeded expectations,” drawing such comments as: “Mr. Dibble is fast learner who exceeds in every category of the division’s work” and “Mr. Dibble is a very talented prosecutor who is extremely dedicated and hard working.”

In his first year as a gang prosecutor, covering the period starting Nov. 23, 2017, it was found that Dibble “has consistently and frequently demonstrated himself to be a highly capable deputy district attorney who can be counted on to handle any assignment and task in a successful and professional manner.” It was added that he showed “outstanding dependability” and “legal knowledge” and “consistently, frequently and willingly worked long hours.”

The rater remarked:

“Despite an enormous amount of investigation, preparation, and complex decision-making abilities required to be a successful gang prosecutor, Mr. Dibble performed well and handled all his assignments and cases with the judgment, skill, and maturity of a more experienced gang prosecutor….He will be one our the division’s rising stars.”

His overall rating was “Met Expectations (Competent),” but it rebounded to the higher rating the next year when it was observed:

“Mr. Dibble…is dedicated, easygoing, hardworking and conscientious. Mr. Dibble is a true team player and gets along well with everyone he encounters. His calm pleasant demeanor makes him an ease to supervise and [he] would be a welcome addition to any operation.”

And, like Barreto, he would be a welcome addition to the Superior Court.

Dibble, 41, a graduate of the law school at USC, has tried 67 cases to a jury, 56 to verdict.

“I will have the humility to accept I will not always have all the answers to an issue and will thus rely appropriately on the attorneys in court and fellow judges for input,” he says, pledging:

“I will strive to listen and apply the law fairly, with a premium on exhibiting a calm demeanor and thoughtfulness as I make important decisions.”


LIZABETH LASHLEY-HAYNES is a deputy public defender. She is to be admired as someone who thinks, cares, and speaks up. She’s candid, a non-phony.

But in the area of criminal justice, she is too much of an advocate—a zealot, actually—to function on the bench in a criminal law department with objectivity. She is anti-police, to the point of calling for defunding law enforcement agencies (which boils down to advocating anarchy), and is fervently pro-defendant. For her to function as a neutral arbiter would be contrary to her nature; electing her would be like asking a feminist to judge a bathing beauty contest or trying to recruit a Vegan to proclaim which eatery has the best pork ribs.

She has no background in civil law, but that surely is not a disqualifying factor. What is disqualifying, in our view, is her fighting spirit, though a commendable trait in the right context. Inevitably, in handling a civil assignment as a judge, she would wind up becoming the champion of a party she viewed as the underdog.

Lashley-Haynes, 45, whose law degree was earned at Case Western Reserve in Ohio, has a place in the justice system—as a reformer, an espouser, a Gadfly. Or, as a deputy public defender—and perhaps, someday, if she settles down a bit and matures, as public defender of Los Angeles County.

We do find revealing what she will not reveal: her last three office annual evaluations, requested by this newspaper. Merely offering three one-paragraph excerpts which she provided (with dates unspecified) engenders suspicion that she has something to hide.

However, she does not deny the authenticity of various social media snapshots, pictured below, saying:

“I am a human being with life experiences that I discuss. Many of my life experiences may be different from past judicial candidates, and this is one of the reasons that I am running. I don’t believe that all judges should come from the same background, profession or share the same beliefs. That is my personal life and it helps inform who I am, both professionally and personally.”

“Every comment I have made in the past, including the jokes and the cheeky/funny comments meant for social media, are in line with the values I am bringing to my candidacy….”

Here are just three of the postings:



In one posting, she unleashes crude language in expressing animosity toward law enforcement officers at a DUI checkpoint she was encountering. In another, Lashley-Haynes asserts that “the justice system is rigged” with “law enforcement, including prosecutors” using “underhanded and unfair tactics.” Her views are too fixed, too radical, for objectivity on her part to be conceivable, were she elected to a judgeship.

Whether Lashley-Haynes is viewed as an individualist, a free-thinker—which connotes courage and independence—or as a person who is an ideologue, in lockstep with the doctrine of an extremist faction, it remains that her right to express her philosophy is undeniable, her integrity in not deviating from it in pursuing her candidacy for judicial office is laudable.

She is worthy of respect, but not judicial office.

SO IT IS THAT TWO WELL-QUALIFIED CANDIDATES are competing for Office No. 67.

While we do not doubt Barreto’s fitness for the post she seeks, we encourage the election of Dibble, though it’s a close call. We base our preference, in part, on his more extensive background in trying cases, particularly in trying cases to juries, as well as his having gained actual bench experience by participating in the Superior Court’s Temporary Judge Program. Too, we are impressed by the highly laudatory assessments of Dibble by judges, one respected jurist saying, in an email:

“I support DDA Ryan Dibble with my whole being! I hope you endorse him.”

Based on no single element, but in weighing Dibble’s plus-factors against Barreto’s, we find the scales tipping slightly in favor of Dibble and lend to him our endorsement.


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