Friday, December 5, 2003
CJA Offers Tacit Support for Re-Election of Oki, Wesley
Group, While Not Mentioning Names, Defends ‘Good-Faith Administrative Decisions’ as Cooley Backs Wesley Bid
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Sitting judges should not be challenged because of “disagreements over good-faith administrative decisions,” the California Judges Association said yesterday.
The statement by the statewide judges’ group mentioned no names, but contained unmistakable references to the ongoing efforts of some prosecutors to oust Los Angeles Superior Court Judges David Wesley and Daniel Oki.
“These challenges are inconsistent with the intent of California’s carefully structured system for re-electing judges, and will discourage judges from volunteering for responsibilities critical to the administration of justice,” the CJA said.
Judges, the statement went on to say, must make “critical administrative decisions about assignments, staffing, security, transportation, and other matters essential to the safe and prompt disposition of cases” and must often do so “within the context of apportioning inadequate resources.”
Association of Deputy District Attorneys President Steven Ipsen has led a drive to recruit opponents for the two judges, saying they were responsible for the release of several suspects whose arraignments had not taken place by court closing time on May 28 of this year.
Many of the suspects were charged with violent crimes, and one of them is now accused of murder. Oki was supervising judge of the criminal courts at the time. Wesley was assistant supervising judge, and later replaced Oki as supervising judge.
Ipsen said late yesterday he had not seen the CJA statement, whose release came the same day the Wesley campaign released a letter of endorsement from District Attorney Steve Cooley.
Cooley praised the incumbent’s “experience, intelligence and dedication” in the brief letter. Wesley campaign consultant Hal Dash said the campaign now has the backing of “the big three of law enforcement”—Cooley, Sheriff Lee Baca, and Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton.
Baca and Bratton have also endorsed Oki, consultant Fred Huebscher told the MetNews.
Dash said the CJA statement makes it clear that “the organized judicial community believes [ADDA] was way out of line” and is “trying to make the judges scapegoats.” The ADDA, he said, is “far more politicized than it ever has been and it truly can undermine the working relationship between law enforcement, prosecutors and judges.”
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company