Thursday, September 12, 2002
C.A. Says Bacigalupo Can Keep ‘Judge, State Bar’ Ballot Designation
By a MetNews Staff Writer
State Bar Court Judge and Los Angeles Superior Court candidate Paul Bacigalupo can call himself “Judge, State Bar” on the Nov. 5 ballot, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled yesterday.
Div. Three, ruling one day hearing ballot arguments and one day before the ballot has to be prepared for printing, according to the county registrar, said a challenger failed to prove that the designation is misleading.
The designation was challenged by a supporter of Bacigalupo’s opponent, Deputy District Attorney David Gelfound. Petitioner Jared Moses, also a deputy district attorney, claimed that the designation would mislead voters into believing that Bacigalupo was already a Superior Court judge.
“Petitioner presents only arguments and conclusions in support of the contention that the ballot designation ‘Judge, State Bar’ is misleading, and provides no factual support of his position,” the court said in an unpublished per curiam opinion. “This is not sufficient to satisfy the ‘clear and convincing proof’ standard established in [Elections Code] section 13313.”
Justices Walter Croskey, Richard Aldrich, and Patti S. Kitching comprised the panel.
Moses’ attorney, Mark Geragos, argued Tuesday that the phrase should be reworked to read “State Bar Judge,” thus making clearer the fact that Bacigalupo is an administrative factfinder rather than an adjudicator.
But the panel said there was “no evidence in the record indicating the ballot designation ‘Judge, State Bar’ implies Bacigalupo currently is a ‘judge’ in the same category as the seat on the Los Angeles Superior Court he is seeking to obtain or that a reasonable voter is likely to interpret it in that manner.”
Bacigalupo’s chosen designation might not be “the best three-word ballot designation for a candidate who is a hearing judge of the State Bar Court,” the panel wrote, suggesting that “State Bar Judge” or “Bar Hearing Judge” might be clearer.
But while “reasonable minds can differ as to Bacigalupo’s purpose in using the particular word arrangement of the three-word ballot designation describing his position as a hearing judge of the State Bar Court and the placement of the word ‘judge,’” the panel said, “’reasonable minds’ is not the standard for issuance of a peremptory writ of mandate.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company