Metropolitan News-Enterprise
Nov. 1, 1996
Page 8

Judge Adjudicated as Campaign Liar to Discuss Judicial Elections

If a panel discussion were put together on the judicial selection process, including elections, who should be asked to participate?

Sure, Joe Cerrell is a natural. The consultant is the "master" in the area of running campaigns for judgeships.

Rex Heinke of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher would be a good choice for the moderator. He headed the County Bar's Judicial Evaluations Committee this year and two years ago.

And Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein and United States District Court Judge Lourdes Baird of the Central District of California would certainly contribute meaningfully to the discussion.

What about a judge who was elected two years ago in a campaign founded on one outright lie after another—who was actually adjudicated by the Los Angeles Superior Court to be a liar? Should that person be afforded a forum to talk about judicial elections?

Well, the Los Angeles County Bar Assn. is providing one. It's staging a Conference of Local Bar Leaders at its offices tomorrow morning at 617 South Olive Street. Speaking on Heinke's panel will be Cerrell, Klein, Baird...and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Friedman.

This is the former assemblyman whose falsehoods in a candidate statement were stricken by then-Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Zebrowski (now a justice of Div. Two of this district's Court of Appeal). This is the politico who, despite Zebrowki's findings of deceptiveness, continued to use some of the judicially denounced claims in campaign literature.

In the candidate statement, as Friedman submitted it for publication, he claimed, for example, to be an "Appointed Deputy District Attorney" and a "prosecutor." He never held those positions. He was a volunteer acting-prosecutor in one East Los Angeles Municipal Court case, at the end of a leash of an actual deputy district attorney.

He claimed he was a "law professor," a "victim's rights specialist" and that he authored the three-strikes laws. Those claims, Zebrowski found, were false, and they were stricken.

Zebrowski characterized as "quite accurate" the perception that Friedman engaged in "a deliberate and cynical political effort to feed false information to the voters."

An editorial pointed all this out in connection with the California Judges Assn. giving space to Friedman this past summer in its newsletter in which he pontificated on judicial elections. Friedman obviously has the right of free speech on the subject of judicial elections. However, the CJA and the County Bar also have the right to be pickly as to whom they afford forums. In giving space in a CJA newsletter to this man of mendacity or a mike to him at a bar forum, dignity is lent to him, inappropriately.

Maybe Friedman next will hit the lecture circuit with a talk on judicial elections. A good title for his talk would be: "How to Lie, Cheat, and Steal (Elections)."

He and Citrus Municipal Court Judge Pat Murphy—a contestant for the Superior Court, and this year's champion truth-twister—would make a great duo. They could go on the stage as the "Fibber Boys" and spout one tall tale after another.

PAT AND TERRY AWARD: In 1992, Murphy's campaign for his present post was the most deceptive judicial campaign in the county. Two years ago, Friedman's was.

This column is going to give out the "Pat and Terry Award" each election year to the candidate running the campaign most resembling those of Murphy in '92 and Friedman in '94.

And the winner in 1996 guessed it. Congratulations, Pat.

Copyright, 1996, Metropolitan News Company. All rights reserved.