Thursday, December 13, 2001
Primary Election Field Complete as Candidate Enters Last Court Race
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts
Workers’ Compensation Judge John Gutierrez yesterday became the final candidate in the field of Los Angeles Superior Court candidates when he returned his papers for the seat being vacated by Judge Reginald Dunn.
Gutierrez will face Deputy District Attorney Richard Walmark and Encino litigator Thomas Warden. The time in which to file for the race was extended through yesterday because Dunn filed a declaration of intention to run but didn’t return nomination papers by last Friday’s deadline.
The three candidates for Dunn’s seat—Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Glenda Veasey filed a declaration of intention but, like Dunn, dropped out—bring the total number of candidates in contested races on the March 5 ballot to 21. Seventeen candidates are seeking five open seats, with two incumbents being challenged.
Besides Dunn, Judges Michael Pirosh, Michael Kanner, Richard Spann, and David Finkel are stepping down.
Gutierrez, who sits in Van Nuys, has been a workers’ compensation judge since 1993. He was a sole practitioner in San Fernando for five years before that.
The candidate is a 1972 graduate of the University of Texas-Austin and earned his degree from the University of San Fernando Valley School of Law in 1978. At the time he earned his degree he was working in the aerospace industry as a contracts administrator, which continued to do until 1983, when he was admitted to the State Bar and became a deputy district attorney.
After leaving the District Attorney’s Office, he worked as an in-house lawyer for a pair of insurance companies before opening his own office in 1988.
The Clute, Tex. native said he entered the race because he wanted to continue in public service and was “ready for the challenge” of running. He said he had not done any advance planning—he just took out his candidacy papers Tuesday—and didn’t know whether he would hire a consultant.
“I need to get more information about [running a campaign],” he told the MetNews. “I don’t know what to expect.”
Gutierrez is the second member of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board’s Van Nuys office to seek a Superior Court judgeship this year. Workers’ Compensation Judge Donald Renetzky is running against Santa Monica attorney Joseph Deering and Deputy District Attorney Hank Goldberg for Pirosh’s seat.
Political consultant Fred Huebscher, who is running Renetzky’s campaign but is not working for anyone in the contest for the Dunn seat, said he regarded Gutierrez as “potentially a strong contender.”
The final roster
of Los Angeles Superior Court candidates, and their ballot designations, are:
Joseph “Joe” Deering, Eldercare Attorney; Hank Goldberg, Criminal Prosecutor, and Donald Renetzky, Administrative Law Judge.
Richard Naranjo, Deputy District Attorney; Craig Renetzky, Criminal Prosecutor; and Larry H. Layton, Law School Professor.
Floyd V. Baxter, Judge/Law Professor, and Ross A. Stucker, Attorney/Arbitirator.
Lauren Weis, Criminal Prosecutor; Richard A. Espinoza, Attorney; Robert Harrison, Attorney/Hearing Officer; and H. Don Christian, Attorney at Law.
David Gelfound, Gang Prosecutor; David Crawford III, Trial Attrorney; Paul A. Bacigalupo, Judge, State Bar, and Steven Lubell, Superior Court Commissioner. (Designations for Gelfound and Bacigalupo are under review by the registrar-recorder.)
C. Robert Simpson Jr., Superior Court Judge, and Kenneth E. Wright, Trial Attorney.
John C. Gutierrez; Thomas H. Warden, Trial Attorney; and Richard Walmark, Criminal Trial Prosecutor. (Designation for Gutierrez could not be confirmed, as he did not return papers until late yesterday.)
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company