Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Superior Court Judge Richard Hubbell Declines to Seek Re-Election
Decision Creates Second Open Seat; Prosecutor Patrick David Campbell Says He Will Run
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard C. Hubbell said yesterday he will not run for re-election, creating a second open seat on the March 2 ballot.
Deputy District Patrick David Campbell became the first candidate to take out papers for Hubbell’s seat. Campbell had previously begun circulating petitions for the seat of Judge Nancy Brown, but had said he would run for that post only if Brown did not.
Brown said last week she was undecided about running.
Hubbell, 72, has been a bench officer for more than 30 years. He was a Los Angeles Municipal Court traffic referee from 1970 to 1972, and a commissioner of that court from 1972 until then-Gov. Jerry Brown named him a judge of the court in 1979.
He was elevated to the Superior Court in 1985 by then-Gov. George Deukmejian.
Long Island Native
Hubbell, a Long Island native who was reared in Los Angeles and whose undergraduate and law degrees are from UCLA, joined the administration of Gov. Pat Brown as state deputy commissioner of corporations in 1959. After a brief time in that post, however, he joined the Beverly Hills law firm of Fitzpatrick, Hughes, & Hubbell, and had his own practice in Los Angeles from 1962 to 1970.
As a Municipal Court judge, he presided over the case of Richard Jensen, a nurse who was convicted in 1983 of sexually assaulting a male quadriplegic hospital patient.
Hubbell granted the defendant a new trial, saying prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence. But the Appellate Department disagreed and reinstated the conviction.
Hubbell then placed the defendant on probation, saying he had “grave doubts” about the victim’s testimony. Then-District Attorney Ira Reiner, whose office had prosecuted the case when he was city attorney, told reporters that Hubbell was “going to give weak-kneed judges a bad name.”
Once promoted to Superior Court, Hubbell continued to hear criminal cases for a time, but was later named supervising judge of the probate departments. He has sat in a fast-track civil court since 1990.
In other election-related developments:
•Los Angeles Superior Court Research Attorney Kevin Notre became the third candidate to take out papers for the seat of Judge Marcus O. Tucker, who said last week he would not run. Notre is the research attorney for Judges Frances Rothschild and Ronald Sohigian, and is treasurer of the union local that represents the court’s research attorneys and law clerks.
The union has been at odds with the court over an austerity move, in which the court froze the number of research attorney positions, contrary to a previous practice of creating a new position for each law clerk who successfully completed two years of service. The union claims the move violates its contract, and the issue is apparently headed for arbitration before the end of the year.
Union President Michael Boggs told the MetNews he did not know of any other research attorneys who were considering running for the court.
Other candidates who have taken out papers to run for the Tucker seat are Referee Mildred Escobedo and Deputy District Attorney Edward Nison. Escobedo has also taken out papers to run for Brown’s seat.
•Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Gootman took out papers to run for the seat of Judge Chesley McKay.
Gootman, who like McKay works out of the Antelope Valley, said he had heard a rumor the judge was not going to run. He added that he had not had an opportunity to discuss the matter with McKay, and said he would probably not run if the rumor turns out to be untrue.
Antelope Valley judges officially moved into the new Antonovich Courthouse yesterday, and McKay could not be reached for comment.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company