Judicial Election Ballot Title Wars - Stein to Appeal Stripped Ballot Title
The Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise reports that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge candidate Andrew Stein, front-runner in the primary election, will appeal a ruling by Judge Joanne O'Donnell stripping him of his chosen ballot title; 'Gang Homicide Attorney.'
Stein, an accomplished and respected criminal trial attorney, faces Deputy City Attorney Thomas 'Tom' Griego, former Chief of Staff to disgraced ex-City Councilmember Mike Hernandez, in the November runoff for Office No. 87. Griego, will appear on the ballot as a 'Criminal Gang Prosecutor,' a title that is likely the source of equal quantities of mirth and derision, based on Griego's track record of using misleading titles to present himself as something other than a pretender.
In 2010 Griego failed in his did to be elected Judge. Griego then used the ballot title 'Criminal Prosecutor,' a title that the Met News described as a "falsehood." Griego had requested a transfer from his obscure and lackluster duties in the Civil Division of the City Attorneys Office, to "The Pit," a trial unit in the Criminal Division. It was a transfer that likely would and should have been declined, based on Griego's lack of experience and clear self-serving motives. However, then City Attorney Carmen Trutanich apparently approved the transfer in the full knowledge that Griego only wanted the transfer to get a better ballot title. Trutanich, himself no stranger to using false and misleading ballot titles, was seemingly unconcerned at the fact that the only activity Griego had undertaken in fulfillment of his 'criminal prosecutor' duties was to read a manual; he had not tried a single criminal case.
After Griego crashed and burned in his first misleading election bid, Trutanich elevated Griego to the City Attorney's Gang Unit - a move not based on any apparent achievement in The Pit, but more likely based on Griego's political connections; something Trutanich may well have felt would help in his own (doomed) bid to become District Attorney.
That the Griego campaign has the hallmark and stench of Trutanich's warped and distorted sense of truthfulness is hard to deny; he is only able to claim his ballot title thanks to the questionable motives of his former boss, and is otherwise utterly unqualified to sit as a judge.
Hopefully, Stein will succeed in his appeal, after all, in her ruling Judge O'Donnell had to concede that "...the designation ‘Gang/Homicide Attorney’ is undoubtedly literally accurate - [Stein] is an attorney who handles gang and homicide trials," however in stripping Stein of the title, O'Donnell felt that the title would mislead voters into thinking Stein is a prosecutor as the title is too similar to those used successfully by prosecutors. It also appears that under current election law, Stein is unable to select another ballot title and is stuck with "Trial Attorney."
In the race for Office No. 87, the Dragnet has no hesitation whatsoever in joining former District Attorney Steve Cooley and the Hon. David Wesley, Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, in endorsing Andrew Stein for Judge.