Friday, March 22, 1996
EDITORIALLying Is Regrettably Rampant in This Year's Judicial Elections
Those who are addressed as "Your Honor" must in fact be persons possessed of honor if our judicial system is to achieve its ends. It is troubling that in this judicial-election season, mendacity has been rampant on the part of candidates.
These lies were spewed by persons who aspire to judgeships:
—East Los Angeles Municipal Court candidate Tony Luna, a court commissioner, filed a candidate statement saying he had served on that court for 19 years. A judge ordered revisions. Luna has only been a commissioner for six years.
—Former Rio Hondo Municipal Court Judge J.B. Casas Jr. (who was turned out of office by voters) is challenging East Los Angeles Municipal Court Judge Ruth Kwan. In his candidate statement and campaign leaflet, he characterized himself—until a judge ordered that the materials be revised—as "JUDGE CASAS," implying that he is the incumbent.
—Citrus Municipal Court contender Laurie Harrold is running as part of an anti-incumbent slate. She was pictured on a mailer with candidates John Harrold (her husband) and Larry Larson, with the inscription: "TOUGH PROSECUTORS, TOUGH JUDGES." Laurie Harrold, unlike the other two, is a civil attorney, not a prosecutor. To compound the confusion, she appears in the picture in a judicial robe. She is not a judge; she has done pro-tem stints on the Pomona Municipal Court.
—The judge Laurie Harrold is challenging, Michael Duggan, said in his candidate statement: "When Viet Nam came, I put on a uniform and served proudly." The implication is that he served in Viet Nam. He didn't. He served locally in the National Guard.
—Duggan, as well as his cohort on the Citrus Municipal Court, Patrick Murphy, who is running for the Superior Court, each billed himself on the ballot as a "judge/law professor." The Election Code allows a listing of more than one "principal" profession. It is true that Murphy and Duggan are both judges. However, neither is a law professor as a principal profession. Murphy teaches a law course at night; Duggan last summer taught a course—the only one he has ever taught. Also, neither holds a professorship. (They are "associate adjunct professors.")
—Similarly, attorney Teresa Sanchez-Gordon, who is seeking the same East Los Angeles Municipal Court open seat as Luna, has listed herself on the ballot as "attorney/law professor." And Antelope Municipal Court candidate Larry Layton, who is challenging an incumbent, bills himself as "dean/professor/attorney." Sanchez-Gordon teaches one night-class a week and Layton instructs six students on weekends.
—Dennis Orfirer, a challenger in the Alhambra Judicial District, ridiculed the incumbent for not living in the district, and listed his own office as a local address. Aside from residency hardly having a bearing on the ability to apply the law, Orfirer also lives outside the judicial district and works (to the small extent he does work) out of his home; the address on his letterhead is merely that of a mail drop.
As we see it, scummy campaigning sounding in deceit is highly revelatory as to a candidate's make-up. Judicial candidates who engage in it provide evidence of unfitness for judicial duties.
And there is all too much evidence of that this election season.
Copyright Metropolitan News Company, 1996