Comments posted in response to Monday's article about the upcoming ADDA election suggests that incumbent President Donna McClay has a strong support, but also has a fight on her hands from challenger Marc Debbaudt, a longtime ADDA member who, on February 7, 2012, is reported to have stated "I don't want to be President. Please never suggest that again."
While many hail McClay for calming the stormy relationship the ADDA has had with the administration ever since disgraced former DDA Steve Ipsen hijacked the association in a failed attempt to further his political ambitions, others seem to favor Debbaudt for his apparent intention to separate the ADDA from AFSCME and lower the $900 annual union dues paid by DDAs. Others have suggested that instead of voting for McClay or Debbaudt, members should "write in ... I vote to Decertify the ADDA, and cease affiliation with AFSCME," a vote that is suggested would terminate the enforced payment of dues altogether.
Judging by the generally vitriolic tone of comments, there appears to be a deep division among members as to the direction the ADDA should take. Regrettably, the vitriol extended to comments about former ADDA President Hyatt Seligman, who is understood to have passed away on Thursday.
Vitriol aside, few can deny that under McClay's leadership, the ADDA has emerged from the dark ages marked by Steve Ipsen and his progeny. McClay masterminded the successful hosting of the final District Attorney Debate in 2012, something that could never have occurred during the Ipsen era. McClay's approach appears to be one of building bridges rather than destroying them, and while that should appeal to many ADDA members, McClay would do well to assure members that they will be allowed to vote on the topic of extending or terminating the ADDA's relationship with AFSCME.
When the ADDA affiliated with AFSCME, the terms included a three-year deal under which all members had to pay substantial dues to AFSCME, in return for AFSCME's agreement to pay the costly court losses sustained by Ipsen for failing to abide by the ADDA bylaws. It is also unclear as to how much of members' dues ($900 a year for Grades III and IV) currently is being used to fund the losses sustained by Ipsen and Selgiman who unsuccessfully sued the DA's Office in 2013. Their claims of employment retaliation were summarily thrown out by a Federal Jury. It is understood that the ADDA continues to pay Ipsen's legal fees in connection with another lawsuit concerning his termination.
The Dragnet will publish any comments McClay or Debbaudt may wish to make to give members any further insight into these issues.
The election is on February 18, 2014. Members should be receiving ballots any day now.
15 Deputy District Attorneys running to become Judges
The number of Deputy District Attorneys running to become Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court increased from eleven, as previously reported, to fifteen according to the Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise. who provided this list:
- Office No. 22, Deputy District Attorney Amy Carter, for the seat now held by Judge Michael Solner, who is retiring this month.
- Office No. 48, Deputy District Attorney Efrain Aceves, for the seat now held by judge Sohigian.
- Office No. 54, Deputy District Attorney Shannon L. Knight, for the seat now held by Judge Ito.
- Office No. 61, Deputy District Attorney Dayan Mathai and Superior Court Commissioner Jacqueline Lewis, for the seat now held by Judge Michael Nash.
- Office No. 72, Deputy District Attorney Chris J. Frisco, for the seat now held by Judge Joseph DiLoreto.
- Office No. 76, Deputy District Attorney Alison Matsumoto Estrada, for the seat now held by Judge Harvey Giss.
- Office No. 82, Deputy District Attorney Ann H. Park, for the seat now held by Judge Arthur M. Lew.
- Office No. 87, Deputy District Attorney Steven P. Schreiner, criminal defense attorney Andrew Stein, and Los Angeles Assistant City Attorney Tom Griego, for the seat now held by Judge Rex Heeseman.
- Office No. 90, Deputy District Attorney Serena Murillo, for the seat now held by Judge Daniel Lopez.
- Office No. 97, Deputy District Attorney Teresa Pineda Magno, for the seat now held by Judge David Milton, who is retiring this month.
- Office No. 107, Deputy District Attorney Joan Chrostek and Superior Court Commissioner Emma Castro for the seat now held by Judge Bob S. Bowers.
- Office No. 113, Deputy District Attorney Stacy L. Okun-Wiese and Mednick, for the seat now held by Judge R. Bruce Minto, who is retiring next month.
- Office No. 117, Deputy District Attorney Carol Najera and Judge James Pierce.
- Office No. 138, Deputy District Attorney Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong, for the seat now held by Judge Carlos Uranga.
- Office No. 157, Deputy District Attorney Andrew Cooper, for the seat now held by Judge Jessica Perrin Silvers, who is retiring this month.
Superior Court Judge Craig Richman Not Guilty of Battery on "Crazy" Woman
According to the Los Angeles Times, after a week-long trial a Van Nuys jury found Superior Court Judge Craig Richman not guilty of an alleged battery arising from a dispute over a bag of dog waste.
Courtroom observers had passed comments to the Dragnet that the case, prosecuted by the City Attorney's Office, had "collapsed" after Connie F. Romero, the alleged victim, was cross-examined by Judge Richman's defense attorney, James Blatt. "She is clearly a crazy," one observer opined. Another commented that "her credibility was shot to pieces" when Blatt impeached Romero showing that she was claiming disability payments while earning and not reporting $250 a month for walking dogs and cleaning houses for a couple in Richman's neighborhood, as the Times reported.
Prosecutor, Deputy City Attorney Joshua Geller, attempted to deflect claims by Blatt that Romero was mentally ill, accusing Blatt of trying to smear Romero. Geller acknowledged Romero was a "troubled person," but went on to say that Judge Richman went out of his way during the confrontation to continue engaging her until he snapped and pushed her to the ground.
"He too may be suffering from some undiagnosed mental condition," Geller said. "This is someone who picked a complete stranger to accost in the street." Geller, it seems, lost the plot at that point, and lost the jury too.
Blatt, in a statement to the Times, said he welcomed the jury's verdict and decried the decision by the city attorney's office to charge his client with misdemeanor battery. He described Romero as having a history of mental instability and previous acts of violence.
"For them to pursue this matter ... I consider that a crime," he said after Thursday's verdict was announced. "They knew from the very beginning that under these circumstances it would be very difficult to obtain a conviction against Judge Richman, and they pursued this matter anyway."
Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the city attorney's office, declined to comment, other than to say, "We respect the jury's decision."