There are nine contests on the March 7 ballot for seats on the Los Angeles Superior Court. Only one of those contests—a race for an open seat—will be voted on countywide. The other matches started out as municipal court races and, although the municipal courts no longer exist in light of unification, a statute requires that the elections proceed as they began. The victors in the supposed municipal court races will take office in January as Superior Court judges.
Los Angeles Superior Court
Deputy District Attorney Mader has excelled as a prosecutor, and we discern qualities she possesses which will enable her to excel as a judge. Although both of her opponents, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan and Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Jeffrey Marckese, have experience on the bench, which Mader does not, we believe her intelligence, skill and industriousness cause her to stand out as the obvious choice.
Alhambra Municipal Court
The incumbent is not a model judge. He can be difficult. He can be arbitrary. However, neither of his challengers has impressive credentials. We have viewed Martinez in court, and he seems to run the courtroom with skill and efficiency. In light of his nearly 19 years of experience on the bench, giving him knack and knowledge superior to that of his rivals, we endorse Martinez.
Antelope Municipal Court
Office No. 1
Both Bianchi and his rival for an open seat, Deputy District Attorney Christopher Estes, are able and respected lawyers. Either candidate is fully qualified for judicial service. Bianchi, however, has a significant edge: experience. He has been a lawyer for more than two decades while Estes has been in practice for only eight years.
Office No. Two
Rogers has had a rocky term of office as a judge. She was publicly reprimanded by the Commission on Judicial Performance based on a failure to timely dispose of matters she had taken under submission. She drew negative attention in her bailiwick based on inebriation on the bench. Although the inebriation stemmed from the effects of narcotics prescribed for her to combat migraine headaches, it remains that she did take the bench while unable to perform. She is off the drugs now, though the commission is continuing to monitor her. Rogers is engaged in a feud with the Public Defender's Office and others. She made allegations in an interview with this newspaper that her chief opponent, attorney William Clark, is an "alcoholic" who appeared in her courtroom on multiple occasions in an intoxicated state. Other judges sitting in Lancaster and judges who formerly sat there were contacted by this newspaper; they told us they had never witnessed Clark in court in such a state. In an interview last week with the Antelope Valley Press, Rogers denied having made statements she made. Rogers is less than we would hope for in a judge. However, as we will explain in an editorial on this race tomorrow, we believe the public is better off with Rogers as a judge than with her opponents serving in that capacity.
Beverly Hills Municipal Court
In a field of four candidates, two—Bobys, a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner, and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Richard Stone—stand out. While it's a close call, we endorse Bobys based on his bench experience and the favorable reviews he draws from local attorneys for his fairness.
Downey Municipal Court
We have already endorsed this highly regarded jurist. His opponent, Kirt Hopson, fails to make a case as to why Rodriguez should be replaced. The primary point he hammered at in launching his campaign was that Rodriguez does not live in the Downey Judicial District. If that point had any validity to it then (and we do not believe it did), it disintegrated on Jan. 22, when unification took effect. Rodriguez is now a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court, serving the entire county, and does live in the county.
Inglewood Municipal Court
Christian, a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner, is the clear choice over Deputy District Attorney Patricia Titus based on her judicial experience, maturity, and judgment.
Los Angeles Municipal Court
Office No. 1
Two candidates in this six-person race—Ladner, a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner, and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney David Mintz—strike us as having the ability to serve as judges based on their knowledge of the law, intellect, and experience. Deputy District Attorney David Stuart is bright and eager to serve but, at 34 and with less than six years of practice, is a bit too green for Superior Court service at this stage of his career. He is, however, a young man with considerable potential who might prove to be an asset to the judiciary in the future. Attorney Vicki Roberts is highly principled, but her action in suing to block the County Bar from releasing its rating of her as "not qualified" and other factors deter us from supporting her. Also running are Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner John Slawson, a part-time instructor at a community college who claims to be a "law professor," and Ronald Silverton, who has regained his law license following disbarment. We endorse Ladner over Mintz based on the former's judicial experience. He has served as a judicial officer during the better part of the period from 1983 to the present.
Office No. 44
Rico, the incumbent, drew our support in the infancy of his campaign. Susan Borges, a lawyer bereft of qualifications for judicial office, filed to run for the seat, oblivious to the fact that it was no longer vacant; the governor had already filled it with the appointment of Rico. Having paid her filing fee, she opted to stay in the race. Rico, in contrast to his rival is eminently qualified for judicial office.
Copyright Metropolitan News Company, 2000