Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, November 8, 2023


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Challenger Haymon Was Held in Contempt by Judge Olson


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Deputy Public Defender Rhonda Antoinette Haymon remained mum yesterday as to her reasons for mounting an election challenge to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lynn D. Olson but it has been learned that Olson found Haymon in contempt of court, a judge affirmed the contempt adjudication, the Court of Appeal denied a writ petition, and the California Supreme Court declined to grant review.

Haymon was ordered to pay a $200 contempt fine on Count One—making references to other unrelated proceedings—and $100 on Count Two, continually interrupting her.

Transcript of Proceedings

The transcript of the proceeding last Feb. 2, at a preliminary hearing, reflects this colloquy:

The Court: May we please —

Ms. Haymon: The court is interrupting me. I’m still addressing the court.

The Court: Well, you’re right, and you will stop speaking. We’re going to —

Ms. Haymon: Why, your Honor? Because I’m addressing the treatment of this court because what you do is intentionally interfere with the attorney-client relationship?

The Court: Ms. Haymon, I have heard enough.

Ms. Haymon: — if you bring my client out and he’s never met me.

And in That case, The attorney didn’t even know her lawyer — who her client was, and you gave second call To that attorney —

The Court: Ms. Haymon, if you continue to speak —

Ms. Haymon: — so why are you treating me —

The Court: — and interrupt me —

Ms. Haymon: — differently?

The Court: — I’m going to hold you —

Ms. Haymon: You are speaking —

The Court: — in contempt.

Ms. Haymon: —over me, your Honor. That’s what you want to do. You want to hold me in contempt because you don’t like me. That why because I’m a zealous advocate.

The Court: —

Ms. Haymon: I am going to keep advocating for my client, your Honor.

The Court: Do not interrupt me. You have been warned.

Ms. Haymon: So you want me to stop speaking because I was speaking, and the court actually interrupted me.

The Court: That’s because I have heard enough.

Ms. Haymon: Because it’s about this court and its treatment of me. Of course you don’t want it to be on the record, but did the court—Was I lying when I said to the court that you allowed this attorney to appear at 11:12 on a prelim that was set before this court?

Two Counts

In Count One, Olson alleged that Haymon “did not permit the court to ascertain the status” of the case. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan found on May 5 that ground unsupported, but found the other ground underlying Count One—that Haymon “made repeated statements regarding cases and proceedings not before the court” to be true.

In particular, Haymon referenced Olson’s purportedly different treatment of Century City attorney Amber Gordon in another case.

Ryan said:

“Petitioner’s statements regarding the other proceeding after being ordered to ‘stop speaking’ demonstrates an act constituting contempt.”

Count Two was based on Haymon having “[c]ontinually interrupted the court.” Ryan said Haymon did continually interrupt Olson and “continued interruptions constitute contempt.” Div. Eight of the Court of Appeal for this district on Aug. 18 declared that “Petitioner has failed to demonstrate that she is entitled to extraordinary relief” and denied her writ petition. The California Supreme Court  on Sept. 27 denied review.

 New Candidate

Declarations of intent to run for two Los Angeles Superior Court seats taken out yesterday by Deputy Public Defender George A. Turner Jr., reputed to be a member of the “Defenders of Justice,” a left-of-center coalition of candidates.  Whether by coincidence or design, Turner picked the same two seats—Offices 39 and 93—chosen by criminal defense attorney Michael Berg. Berg filed his declarations on Monday.

If Turner files his declaration, he and Berg will each have to decide which seat he will run for when he files nominating papers, which are due Dec. 8.

Turner was in a run-off in 2020 for a seat on the El Camino Community College (“ECC”) District’s Board of Trustees for “Area One” and received 31.34 percent of the votes. He said on his campaign website:

“I am a father, a husband, an attorney and a son of Inglewood, the city that encompasses Area One….When I was a small child, my mother started at ECC. One of my happiest memories in my life is the day that my mom and I graduated from school together, her as a nurse and I as an attorney.”

He graduated from the UCLA Law School in 2007 and was admitted to the State Bar in May 2009. Turner joined the Public Defender’s Office that year.

The candidate does not have a current campaign website. Berg does; it includes this message:

“A respected attorney, Berg has owned and operated his own law firm for nearly 15 years. In his law practice, he represents individuals accused of committing crimes, as well as victims who need help navigating the criminal justice system.”

As of press time yesterday, only one incumbent who is up for election and has not indicated a decision not to run—Karen Ackerson Gauff—had not taken out a declaration. One judge, Richard Bloom, a former member of the Assembly, had taken out, but had not filed, a declaration.

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 today to file declarations.


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