Friday, October 26, 2001
Deputy District Attorney David Gelfound to Run for Superior Court Seat Vacated by Judge David Finkel
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Deputy District Attorney David Gelfound, a prosecutor in the Hardcore Gang Unit, said yesterday he will run for the Los Angeles Superior Court seat being vacated by Judge David Finkel.
Finkel, 69, has slated his retirement for Jan. 27 after 11 years on the bench. He was a private practitioner and Santa Monica city councilman before winning election to an open seat on the former Santa Monica Municipal Court in 1990.
Gelfound, who grew up in Woodland Hills, said running for the bench is “the logical next step” after realizing his lifelong ambition to become a prosecutor. He worked for civil firms in Van Nuys and Oxnard after graduating from Pepperdine Law School in 1989, he told the MetNews, while waiting for the District Attorney’s Office to hire him.
His undergraduate degree is from UCLA.
Gelfound becomes the first prosecutor to declare for an open seat in the current election cycle, which will include the primary election on March 5 followed by a Nov. 5 runoff in any race where no candidate receives a majority.
That fact is significant, because the “criminal prosecutor” ballot designation is extremely popular with voters. Last year, all five of the open seats were won by prosecutors.
Gelfound said he expects to spend $100,000, part of which will go to hiring a professional consultant within the next few days. He will also be releasing, he said, a list of endorsers, including several judges.
At least two other candidates—former Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Richard Espinoza and former Santa Monica Bar Association President Joseph Deering Jr.—have said they will seek open seats.
Espinoza said he would run for the seat being vacated by Judge Michael Kanner. Deering originally took out papers to run for the seat left vacant by the retirement of Judge William J. McVittie, but said he’d switch to another race after learning that Gov. Gray Davis had appointed Richard Kirschner to fill McVittie’s seat.
Another potential candidate, Glendale attorney Kenneth E. Wright, took out papers to run for the seat left vacant by the retirement of Judge Glenette Blackwell. That seat was recently filled with the appointment of Leslie Brown, and Wright did not return a phone call seeking comment on whether he still intends to run.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company