In the primary, we endorsed trial attorney John Moriarity for the Los Angeles Superior Court based on his high standing within the legal community and accomplishment.
We noted, too, the paucity of legal experience on the part of one of his two rivals, Assemblyman Terry Friedman.
Moriarity and Friedman are now in a run-off. Moriarity continues to be a well regarded and seasoned attorney; Friedman continues to lack the requisite experience to function as a Superior Court judge.
A new factor has arisen which intensifies our support for Moriarity.
Friedman, in his quest for election to an office for which he patently lacks qualifications, has uttered assertions which cannot objectively be regarded as other than falsehoods. That is to say: he's a liar.
Seeking to capitalize on the public's impatience with rising crime, this darling of the civil libertarians has sought to portray himself as one who has led the fight for law and order. He submitted a candidate statement for inclusion in the sample ballot describing himself as an "Appointed Deputy District Attorney" and as a "prosecutor." In truth, Friedman tried one short case under the supervision of an actual professional prosecutor. A judge ordered substitution of the phrase, "temporary volunteer Deputy District Attorney."
The judge also excised from the candidate statement the fabrications that Friedman was a "victim's rights specialist" and that he "co-authored Three Strikes You're Out."
The judge allowed to stand the claim that Friedman is "LAW ENFORCEMENT'S CHOICE FOR JUDGE," declaring that if two officers favored Friedman, the phrase could be viewed as truthful.
Legally, the representation may be made; nonetheless, it is objectively false, as demonstrated by Moriarity having bagged nearly every conceivable endorsement from law enforcement circles.
Friedman also sought to describe himself in the statement as a "law professor." Yet, he has never taught anywhere as a full professor of law, an associate professor of law, or even an assistant professor of law. The judge required that the description be changed to "Adjunct Law Professor."
Even though Friedman's occupation is that of a legislator, not a law professor, another judge has allowed him to be listed on the ballot as "Law Professor/Lawmaker." Clearly, this is deceptive. That it has been permitted does not excuse the wrong.
It is inescapable that Friedman has sought to mislead voters. His ilk we do not need on the bench. For that matter, we should not be so complaisant as we are about our Legislature being inhabited by such deceitful souls. It is pitiful that our society acquiesces in the notion that mendacity is an ever-present factor in partisan politics that must simply be tolerated.
For whatever reason, there is a higher expectation of integrity on the part of judicial candidates than there is on the part of those seeking legislative offices. Friedman does not come up to the standard to which most members of the public would hold judicial aspirants. Indeed, it is difficult to see how anyone concerned about the composition of our judiciary could support this blatant truth-bender.
Another factor worth noting is that Friedman is the invisible candidate. While Los Angeles Superior Court Judge-Elect Marlene Kristovich is often ridiculed for being present at nearly any bar meeting that's held, Friedman is the opposite extreme. He is not to be seen at such meetings. He does not mingle with members of the local community; he is not a part of that community. He is an outsider.
In two years, legislators will be hit with term limits. Friedman apparently is seeking to pave the way for politicos to use the local bench as a refuge. Any ex-lawmaker who might seek judicial office should be judged on his or her own merits. As to the merits of this particular office-seeker, we discern none.
John Moriarity, on the other hand, is a skilled and principled attorney who deserves election to the Los Angeles Superior Court. We endorse him with enthusiasm.
Copyright Metropolitan News Company, 1994