Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, November 6, 2023


Page 1


Judge Olson Draws Challenge; Judge Soto Is Not Running

Number of Open Seats Totals Eight; Four More File Declarations


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lynn D. Olson on Friday drew an election challenge from Deputy Public Defender Rhonda Antoinette.

Haymon filed a declaration of intent to run for Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 12 held by Olson. The judge has not taken out a declaration of intent to seek reelection but political consultant Fed Huebscher, who unofficially orchestrated her 2006 election victory over incumbent Dzintra Janavs, said she is running.

In 2012, Olson turned back a challenge by attorney Douglas W. Weitzman, garnering 69.75% of the votes in the June 5 primary. And in 2018, she drew no opponent.

Haymon, who earned her law degree at Willamette University in Oregon, was admitted to the State Bar in 2001.

Soto Slates Retirement

Also on Friday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Philip L. Soto said he will not seek reelection, creating an eighth open seat.

He said yesterday:

“I have decided to retire next year after my 65th birthday in May 2024. My wife plans on retirement from L.A. District Attorney’s Office next March so we will retire together.”

Soto added he hasn’t made “any firm plans” as to what he’ll be doing after retirement.

Appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court on Sept. 3, 1998, Soto was elevated to the Superior Court in 2000 by virtue of trial court unification. At the time of his appointment, he was a senior associate at Manning, Marder, and Wolfe.

Additional Candidates

Four more candidates filed declarations of intent on Friday:

•Deputy District Attorney Sam Abourched, who became a lawyer in 2011. He graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2.5 years. His campaign website lists endorsements by 29 Los Angeles Superior Court judges.

•Deputy District Attorneys Christmas Brookens, whose law degree is from Pepperdine and who was licensed in 2004. Her website lists 21 sitting judges who support her candidacy.

•Deputy District Attorney Steven Yee Mac, a UCLA law school graduate who was sworn in as a lawyer in 2008. Fourteen sitting judges back him, according to his website.

•Lawyer Eric Jeffrey Youngquist, who holds a law degree from Western State and was added to the roll of attorneys in 2007.

 Additionally, criminal defense attorney Michael Berg, a Southwestern Law School graduate admitted to practice in 2006, pulled but did not file a declaration of intent to seek Office No. 39, held by Soto. Two judges are endorsing him, his campaign website shows.

Abourched, Brookens, Mac, and Berg are represented by campaign consultant Crystal Litz. Her clients also include Orange County attorney Christopher Darden, a prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, and Deputy District Attorneys Jacob Lee and Renee Rose, who filed declarations earlier.

None of the other candidates are known to have consultants.

Line-Up of Candidates

With Judges Andrea Thompson and Laura Walton opting to run, it appears the number of open seats will be eight. As it stands, here is the line-up of candidates who have filed declarations for open seats as of press time Friday:

Office No. 39 (held by Judge Philip L. Soto): none.

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.

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 Attorney Steven Yee Mac, and private practitioner Eric Jeffrey Youngquist.

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

Others have until Nov. 13 to file declarations of an intent to seek open seats.


Copyright 2023, Metropolitan News Company