Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, November 7, 2023


Page 1


Candidate Files Declaration for Two Seats


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Criminal defense attorney Michael Berg yesterday became the first candidate in the current election cycle to file declarations of intent to run for multiple Los Angeles Superior Court seats, becoming the first to file for Office No. 39, held by Judge Philip L. Soto, and the second to file for Office No. 93, occupied by Judge Malcolm Mackey.

Already in the race for Office No. 93 is Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila, who has been endorsed by 44 Los Angeles Superior Court judges, according to the candidate’s campaign website.

Berg has two such endorsements, his website says.

Avila’s website says:

“With a courtroom experience of over 115 jury trials, Victor’s sound judgment and integrity have earned him a position in the prestigious Major Crimes Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. This division is renowned for handling some of Los Angeles’ most high-profile and complex criminal cases.”

Berg’s online message is: 

 “Michael Berg is a successful attorney, a small business owner from a long tradition of Los Angeles business owners, and now a candidate for Los Angeles County Judge of the Superior Court. Neither a prosecutor nor a public defender, the only side that Michael Berg is on is that of justice, for all.”

Repeat Candidate

Deputy District Attorney Georgia Huerta, who came in fourth in a six-person race for an open seat in the June 7, 2022 primary, filed a declaration to run for Office No. 135, held by Judge Cary Nishimoto.

The legitimacy of her ballot designation last year as “Deputy District Attorney” was questioned in a writ proceeding (in which she prevailed) because she was a former deputy district attorney and had a current profession as an attorney. This time, there is no such question; she has been rehired by the District Attorney’s Office.

There are four persons in the contest for Office No. 135, the others being Hermosa Beach attorney Mohammad Ali Fakhreddine, Deputy District Attorney Steven Yee Mac, and Santa Monica private practitioner Eric Jeffrey Youngquist.

Huerta and Fakhreddine do not have campaign websites. Mac’s website declares:

“With experience in criminal, civil, juvenile, corporate and military law, Steven Mac is uniquely qualified and ready to serve on the Bench. And as the son of refugees from Vietnam, he has a distinct understanding of what citizenship and justice means.”

Youngquist has a law firm website that does not allude to his candidacy. It says:

“If you are facing any type of criminal charges, you need an attorney who not only has a reputation as one of America’s Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys, but who also has 20 years’ worth of experience as a Los Angeles County police detective. Eric Youngquist also serves as a Judge Pro Tem in the Los Angeles County Superior Courts system.”

Olson’s Candidacy

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lynn D. Olson, who has been challenged by Deputy Public Defender Rhonda Antoinette Haymon, yesterday took out a declaration of intent to seek reelection. Haymon has not responded to two requests for comment on why she is running against Olson.

Olson’s campaign will apparently be well financed. The Los Angeles Judges Political Action Committee announced Oct. 20 that it “has an election fund of about $325,000, which grows every month.”

Two judges who had not taken out declarations as of press time yesterday—but signaled that they do plan to run by pulling petitions on which to seek signatures to reduce the filing fee—are Karen Ackerson Gauff and Michelle Ahnn.

Texas A&M Professor/Associate Dean Luz Herrera had not filed her declaration to run for Office No. 137 but said she intends to do so.

Here is the line-up of candidates as of press time yesterday:

Office No. 39 (held by Judge Philip L. Soto): criminal defense attorney Michael Berg.

Office No. 48 (held by Judge Margaret Miller Bernal): private practitioner Malik C. Burroughs and Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose.

Office No. 93 (held by Judge Malcolm Mackey): Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila, criminal defense attorney Michael Berg.

Office No. 97 (held by Judge Craig Mitchell): Deputy District Attorney Sam Abourched, private practitioner La Shae Henderson.

Office No. 115 (held by Judge Mel Red Recana): Deputy District Attorneys Christmas Brookens and Keith Koyano.

Office No. 130 (held by Judge Brian C. Yep): attorney Christopher Darden.

Office No. 135 (held by Judge Cary Nishimoto): attorney Mohammad Ali Fakhreddine, Deputy District Attorneys Georgia Huerta and Steven Yee Mac, and private practitioner Eric Jeffrey Youngquist.

Office No. 137 (held by Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman): Deputy District Attorney Jacob Lee.

Monday is the deadline for filing declarations of an intent to seek an open seat. Judges and challengers have until tomorrow to file declarations.


Copyright 2023, Metropolitan News Company