Metropolitan News-Enterprise
Monday, January 31, 2000
Page 3

Two More Judges Get LACBA Tentative Rating Below 'Well Qualified'

By a staff writer

Two Los Angeles Superior Court judges have tentatively been rated "qualified" for election to new terms by a Los Angeles County Bar Association panel and will appeal their lack of a "well-qualified" rating, a consultant to their campaigns said Friday.

Judges John Martinez—who served on the Alhambra Municipal Court prior to the Jan. 22 court unification—and Jesus Rodriguez, formerly of the Downey Municipal Court, will ask the Committee on Judicial Election Evaluations to upgrade them to its highest ranking, Dora Gill of Cerrell Associates Inc. told the MetNews.

"We fully believe they're well-qualified" and that the committee will be persuaded to rate them as such, Gill said.

Gill's disclosure brings to three the number of incumbent judges on the March 7 ballot who received tentative ratings. Judge Pamela Rogers reported Thursday that she received such a rating, but wouldn't say what it was or whether she would appeal.

That means that of four incumbent judges on the ballot, Judge Richard Rico—formerly of the Los Angeles Municipal Court and on the bench only three months—is presumably the only one with a well-qualified rating, since Rico said he had heard nothing from LACBA.

Under the committee's procedures, only tentative ratings of "qualified" or "not qualified" are transmitted to candidates, so that they may avail themselves of the appeal process.

Appeal hearings have reportedly been scheduled for this week, and the final ratings are expected in about two weeks. Ratings of well-qualified are final rather tentative, and are not transmitted to candidates or otherwise made public prior to the issuance of the committee's final report.

One other candidate disclosed his tentative rating Friday.

Llewellyn P. Chin, one of two lawyers opposing Martinez, said he had also been rated qualified and didn't know whether he would appeal.

A total of nine contests will appear on the March ballot. Although there are no longer municipal courts in Los Angeles County, a transitional law provides that candidates who filed for seats on those courts prior to unification—representing eight of the nine contests—will run in the former districts as if the courts still existed, although the winners will be sworn in as Superior Court judges next January.

Candidates in those races, and what is known about their bar ratings, are listed below:

Los Angeles Superior Court—Deputy District Attorney Katherine Mader, who said she was rated qualified and is not appealing; Superior Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan, presumably well-qualified, and Superior Court Referee Jeffrey Marckese, presumably well-qualifed.

Alhambra Municipal Court—Martinez, Chin, and attorney Maria Vargas-Rodriguez, who was rated qualified and hasn't decided whether to appeal, campaign consultant Victor Griego said last week.

Antelope Municipal Court, Office No. 1—David Bianchi, a partner in a Lancaster firm, who declined to discuss his rating Friday; and Deputy District Attorney Christopher Estes, who said he was rated qualified and is not appealing.

Antelope Municipal Court, Office No. 2—Rogers; Palmdale attorney William Clark, who did not return several phone calls; and Acton lawyer Larry Layton, who said he was rated qualified and is not appealing.

Beverly Hills Municipal Court—Superior Court Commissioner Hugh Bobys and Deputy District Attorney Richard A. Stone Jr., presumably well-qualified; sole practitioner Mitchell Dawson, who did not return calls; and West Los Angeles attorney John A. Khoury, who said he was rated not qualified and hadn't decided whether to appeal.

Downey Municipal Court— Rodriguez and Downey sole practitioner Kirt Hopson, who didn't return phone calls.

Inglewood Municipal Court—Superior Court Commissioner Deborah Christian, presumably well-qualified, and Deputy District Attorney Patricia Titus, who said she was rated qualified and is appealing.

Los Angeles Municipal Court, Office No. 1—Superior Court Commissioners John Slawson and John Ladner, presumably well-qualified; Deputy District Attorney David Stuart, who said he was rated qualified and hadn't decided whether to appeal; Deputy District Attorney David Mintz, who is reportedly traveling and unavailable for comment; Los Angeles attorney Ronald Silverton, rated not qualified, with an appeal scheduled; and Los Angeles attorney Vicki M. Roberts, who did not disclose her tentative rating but said she was appealing.


Copyright Metropolitan News Company, 2000