Our coverage, yesterday, of DDA Helen Kim's bogus ballot designation as a 'Violent Crimes Prosecutor' prompted a rash of comments condemning the Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise and the Dragnet for covering the dispute. However, some comments acknowledged that Kim had gone too far and was attempting to mislead voters given that her occupation, a part-time filing deputy in Central Complaints, bears no relation to what one would expect to be the role of a violent crimes prosecutor. One comment analogized Kim's claim to that of a 911 operator claiming to be a "crime fighter."
Kim made a last minute decision to challenge DDA Alison Matsumoto Estrada's candidacy Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 76. We speculated that Matsumoto would likely challenge Kim's bogus ballot designation, and it appears that she has.
According to the Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise, the dispute over Kim's ballot designation was before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin even while comments on the Dragnet were being posted. In response to a petition filed by DDA Alison Matsumoto Estrada challenging Kim's ballot designation, Judge Lavin issued writ ordering the LA County Registrar-Recorder to strike Kim's misleading ballot designation, or show cause why the ballot designation should stand.
Matsumoto's petition was supported by a declaration from DDA Rob Dver, who describes himself as a "general filing deputy," for reasons that soon become clear. Dver describes the duties of a filing deputy and, significantly, makes the point that, of the cases he reviews, "approximately 40% ... involve alleged thefts of some form, approximately 40% ... involve drugs of some form, and the remaining 20% ... involve other circumstances."
Moreover, Dver points out that "A 'violent' felony has a specific meaning under ... Penal Code Section 667.5(c). I estimate that at most 5% of the cases I evaluate as a general filing deputy involve 'violent' felonies, as that term is defined in the Penal Code."
Finally, Dver asserts that, for the most part, violent felonies "are reviewed for filing by special units or the Victim Impact Program (VIP)," adding that "As a general filing deputy I am not usually involved with these cases."
Kim, being neither assigned to a special unit nor VIP, likely has a similar caseload as Dver (albeit a lighter one, given her part-time status), would appear to have little justification for her 'violent crimes prosecutor' ballot designation.
Some may point out that Dver's assertion is without merit as Kim does not claim to be a 'violent felonies prosecutor' only a 'violent crimes prosecutor.' However, as she is assigned to Central Complaints, it is unlikely that she encounters any 'violent' misdemeanors. If they do exist, they would be within the jurisdiction of the City Attorney's Office.
Kim had until 5:00 p.m. Wednesday to file an opposition and a hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Monday in Department 85, where Judge James Chalfant sits, the Met News reported.
We also mentioned that Judicial candidate DDA Amy Carter has challenged the ballot designation chosen by her rival for Office No. 22, Pamela Matsumoto, who claimed to be an "Administrative Law Judge."
Carter's petition asserts that Matsumoto's ballot designation is false because her current occupation is that of insurance defense attorney, and her temporary assignment as a hearing officer does not comport with the requirements of applicable law.
That challenge will also be heard on Monday, in Department 86 before retired Judge Robert O'Brien, sitting on assignment. O'Brien gave Matsumoto until noon Thursday to file a written opposition.
In other news
The Dragnet has learned that Judicial candidates DDAs Andrew Cooper (Office No. 157) and Dayan Mathai (Office No. 61) have filed challenges to their opponents.
Cooper has challenged attorney Arnold Mednick's use of "Administrative Law Judge," for reasons similar to those raised by Amy Carter.
Mathai has challenged attorney B. Otis Felder's use of "Deputy City Prosecutor" or various permutations thereof, on the basis that Felder was not employed by the City Attorney's Office, but was, rather, a volunteer extern while maintaining his law practice.
ADDA to Co-Host Sheriff's Debate
Mark your calendars. April 17, 2014, the ADDA will co-host the "Battle for Los Angeles County Sheriff" along with several other bar associations at the Hollenbeck Youth Center. This likely signals an intention by the ADDA to endorse one of the seven candidates in the June 3, 2014 primary election.