Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Judicial Candidate Challenges Charge for Candidate Statement
Robert Henry Asks Federal Judge to Rule $65,000 Fee Is Discriminatory
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts
A California deputy attorney general running for Los Angeles Superior Court judge has brought suit in federal court challenging the requirement that candidates pay $65,000 to place a statement of qualifications in the official ballot pamphlet.
“There is no rational basis” for allowing counties to decide “on whim and caprice” whether and how much to charge candidates for filing statements, Robert Henry told the MetNews yesterday. Henry filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Friday.
The action has been assigned to Chief Judge Consuelo B. Marshall, and a hearing on Henry’s motion for a preliminary injunction has been set for Jan. 26. Henry acknowledged yesterday that the ballot pamphlet will already have been printed by then, saying he requested a temporary restraining order.
Henry, a candidate for the seat being vacated by Judge Rosemary Shumsky, said he had not received word as of late yesterday whether Marshall will hold a hearing on his TRO request. Henry’s opponents are Deputy District Attorneys David Lopez, Craig Mitchell, and Craig Renetzky, Torrance attorney Michael Shook, and Superior Court Referee Daniel Zeke Zeidler. Only Shook and Zeidler paid for candidate statements.
The suit is reminiscent of an action filed when Henry challenged then-Superior Court Judge Joyce Karlin in 1992, claiming that candidates in counties where the charges are high—the statute allows the county to charge based on the estimated cost of distribution—are unfairly discriminated against. Smaller counties have smaller charges, and some counties, such as Santa Clara, exercise the statutory option of placing no charge on the candidate at all.
Henry lost that suit, as well as the election. But the prior decision is not binding, he explained yesterday, because it came as a summary denial of a mandamus petition in state court.
The federal suit was filed as a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983.
In other election-related developments:
•Orange Superior Court Judge John Watson took under submission a challenge by Judge Dan T. Oki to opponent Eugene Salute’s ballot designation of “Attorney/Temporary Judge,” following a hearing in Santa Ana.
•Deputy District Attorney Pat Campbell, a candidate for the seat being vacated by Judge Marcus Tucker, said he would seek a writ of mandate Friday challenging Superior Court Referee Mildred Escobedo’s designation of “Temporary Judge,” after the registrar reversed field and decided to accept it. Escobedo, in turn, gave notice that she would challenge Campbell’s designation of “Criminal Prosecutor/Professor.”
Campbell teaches part-time at an unaccredited law school in Anaheim.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company