Friday, March 1, 2002
S.C. Rejects Bradley’s Bid to Remain Compton Mayor
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The state Supreme Court yesterday rejected former Compton Mayor Omar Bradley’s request to block an order restoring Eric Perrodin to the office, allowing Perrodin to reclaim the post he lost last month after a Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit.
The high court’s action left intact a ruling Tuesday by this district’s Court of Appeal that Perrodin, who came in first in a close race last June, should remain in office pending appeal of Superior Court Judge Judith Chirlin’s ruling that the election was compromised.
Chirlin based her ruling on an obscure doctrine known as the “primacy effect,” which holds that some voters are apt to simply mark their ballots for the first name that appears. The city clerk listed Perrodin first without asking for a random ordering, and Chirlin ruled that enough Perrodin voters would have voted for Bradley, had his name been listed first, that the election results were improperly reversed.
Bradley, a 10-year incumbent before his defeat last year, returned to Compton city hall two weeks ago to resume his old job. But a day after hearing oral argument on the matter, Div. One of this district’s Court of Appeal ordered Bradley out and Perrodin in.
The appeals court order was effective as of 4 p.m. yesterday, to give Bradley’s lawyers time to seek the high court stay. The Supreme Court order was issued mid-day. The one-line en banc order reads simply:
“Application for stay and petition for review DENIED.”
Fredric Woocher, Perodin’s lawyer, said he was “not surprised” by the Supreme Court’s decision not to get involved.
Bradley’s lawyer, Bradley Hertz, did not return calls for comment.
On Monday, both lawyers urged the court to sustain the “status quo” pending an appeal process that could last months, but Woocher said that status quo should be “the will of the people” in electing Perrodin, while Hertz said it should be Chirlin’s ruling finding fault in the ballot order.
Chirlin issued her order ousting Perrodin on Feb. 8, based on testimony by Ohio State University Professor Jon Krosnick. Krosnick said he reviewed the election data and determined that Perrodin received more than 300 votes that otherwise would have gone to Bradley because Perrodin was listed first.
Woocher told the appeals panel that the notion that the ballot order would sway enough people to vote for a different candidate does not hold water in Compton, a politically active and turbulent city where the candidates were well known.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company