Pages

Sunday, March 13, 2016

2016 Judicial Elections - The Race For Robes Takes Shape

Filings in the Los Angeles County Superior Court elections, the 'Race for Robes,' closed at 5pm Friday, March 11, with 16 candidates vying for 4 open seats, and 3 candidates challenging sitting judges.

The race for open seats has a field of 1 Superior Court Commissioner, 8 Deputy District Attorneys, 1 Deputy Attorney General, and 6 attorneys. Those open seats result from the impending retirements of Judges Michelle Rosenblatt, Alan Rosenfield, Kathleen Diesman, and Elden Fox, all of whom were not minded to allow Governor Brown to appoint their replacements.

So here's a first look at the 2016 race for robes:

Office Number 11 
(L-R: Deputy District Attorneys Debra Archuleta, Paul Kim and Steven Schriener face each other, in the race for Office 11
along with largely unknown candidate Jonathan Malek
)

Deputy District Attorney Steven Schreiner, who ran unsuccessfully in 2014, faces fellow DDAs Debra Archuleta and Paul Kim. Schreiner started his campaign shortly after his 2014 defeat, with Archuleta beginning her campaign early in 2015. Kim was a late and unexpected entrant to this race, along with attorney Jonathan Malek. With Schreiner and Archuleta being the frontrunners in terms of campaign strength, warchests and ballot titles, a November runoff between the two is virtually guaranteed.

Candidate Information:
DDA Debra Archuleta
Ballot Title: Violent Crimes Prosecutor
Website: www.ArchuletaForjudge.com
Facebook: facebook.com/ArchuletaForJudge

DDA Paul Kim
Ballot Title: Gang Murder Prosecutor
Website: www.PaulKimForJudge.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Paul-Kim-for-Los-Angeles-County-Judge-Seat-11-469820899880149/

Jonathan Malek
Ballot Title: Civil Litigator
No website or Facebook page can be located at this time.

DDA Steven Schreiner
Ballot Title: Gang Homicide Prosecutor
Website: www.SchreinerForJudge.com
Facebook: facebook.com/SchreinerForJudge

Office Number 42
(L to R: Deputy District Attorney Efrain Aceves, attorneys Alicia Molina,
and Superior Court Commissioner Cyndy Zuzga
)

Deputy District Attorney Efrain Aceves, who ran in 2014 before withdrawing his candidacy, is pitched against Superior Court Commissioner Cynthia Zuzga, and attorneys Alicia Molina and Michael Ribons.  Aceves and Zuzga have been campaigning since 2015, while Molina and Ribons are late entrants. Aceves and Zuzga have the strongest ballot titles and campaign warchests, and will likely face each other in a November runoff.

Candidate Information:
DDA Efrain Aceves
Ballot Title: Child Molestation Prosecutor
Website: www.AcevesForJudge.com
Facebook: facebook.com/Efrain.M.Aceves

Alicia Molina
Ballot Title: Domestic Violence Attorney
Website: http://MolinaForJudge.squarespace.com
Facebook: facebook.com/AliciaMolinaForJudge

Michael Ribons
Ballot Title: Arbitrator/Attorney
No website or Facebook page can be located at this time.

Cyndy Zuzga
Ballot Title: Superior Court Commissioner
Website: www.ZuzgaForJudge.com
Facebook: facebook.com/Zuzga-for-Judge

Office Number 84
(L-R: Deputy District Attorneys Javier Perez, Susan Jung Townsend, attorney Aaron Weissman, and Hubert Yun)

Deputy District Attorney Susan Jung Townsend started her campaign early in 2015, around the same time as attorney Aaron Weissman. They are pitched against DDAs Javier Perez and Hubert Yun who was a late entrant to this race. Townsend leads the field in ballot title and campaign warchest strength, but Perez enjoys substantial backing from MABA-PAC (the Mexican American Bar Association's Political Action Committee) and currently has a strong ballot title. Wesiman is understood to be actively playing catch-up in the fundraising department, while little is known of Yun's campaign or his resources. The frontrunners here are Townsend and Perez, both seem likely to face each other in a November runoff.

Candidate Information:
DDA Javier Perez
Ballot Title: Supervising Gang Prosecutor
Website: www.PerezForJudge.com
Facebook: facebook.com/Perez-For-Judge

DDA Susan Jung Townsend
Ballot Title: Criminal Fraud Prosecutor
Website: www.TownsendForJudge.com
Facebook: facebook.com/Susan-Townsend-for-Judge

Aaron Weissman
Ballot Title: Small Business Attorney
Website: www.AaronWeissman4Judge.org

DDA Hubert Yun
No website or Facebook page can be located at this time.

Office Number 158
(L-R: Deputy District Attorney David Berger, attorneys Susan Jerich, Naser Khoury,
and Deputy Attorney General Kim Nguyen
)

Deputy District Attorney David Berger started his campaign for Office 158 early in 2015, and did so with the blessing of it's current holder, Judge Elden S. Fox, who delayed announcing his retirement until the close of filing in a valiant display of support his for Berger. Berger is currently challenged by Deputy Attorney General Kim Nguyen. Attorneys Naser Khoury and Susan Jerich have also filed papers to run, potentially making this into a four-way race with a November runoff between to two highest vote-getters in the June election.
UPDATED:
Susan Jerich has decided to withdraw her candidacy at this time and plans to run in 2018. Late entries have been filed by Deputy District Attorney Fred Mesropi and Deputy City Attorney Onica Valle Cole

Candidate Information:
DDA David Berger*
Ballot Title: Violent Crimes Prosecutor
Website: www.BergerForJudge2016.com
Facebook: facebook.com/Berger2016

Onica Valle Cole
Ballot Title: Prosecutor
Website: Unnown
Facebook: Not Found

Naser Khoury
Ballot Title: Law Professor/Attorney
Website: www.KhouryForJudge.org
Facebook: facebook.com/Naser-Khoury-for-Los-Angeles-County-Superior-Court-Judge-2016

Fred Mesropi
Ballot Title: Child Molestation Prosecutor
Website: www.MesropiForJudge.com
Facebook: Not Found

Kim Nguyen
Ballot Title: Deputy Attorney General
Website: www.KimForJudge2016.com
Facebook: Not found.

As for the contested races;

Sitting Judges James Kaddo, Ray Santana, and Kathryn Solorzano all face challengers in this election cycle. The last time a sitting Judge was defeated was in 2014 when Judge James Pierce was unseated. The defeat shocked many on the bench who believed that the challenge could have easily been overcome had Judge Pierce done more than simply assume his incumbency would win the day.

Factions within the Superior Court are believed to have contingency plans in place to ensure that there will not be a repeat of 2014. Those plans are said to include traditional fundraising for those incumbents who actively campaign, as well as a Political Action Committee that could finance Independent Expenditures in support of an incumbent who tries to follow the Judge Pierce approach.

Add to the mix is the willingness of MABA-PAC to support of Latino jurists who come under attack. It's without doubt that MABA-PAC's $200k pledge to support Judge Gus Sztraicher was instrumental in deterring attorney Michael Ribons from pursuing his ill-feted campaign for Judge Sztraicher's seat, and it seems likely that MABA-PAC will similarly step up to the plate for Judges Solorzano and Santana.

It will not be a huge surprise, therefore, to see all three incumbents reelected in June.

[*In the interests of full disclosure, for readers who don't already know it, Joe Friday is David Berger, editor of this blog.]

&tc.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gotta say it Joe, it's petty shitty that so many Deputy DAs are prepared to run against fellow DDAs. WTF has happened? OK, I get it, there's only 4 seats and there's at least 6 DDAs who have been campaigning for over a year, but the 'late entrants' should be ashamed of themselves. If they were serious they would have also been campaigning and have websites so folks know who they are. I have to say kudos to Philip Marshall, Jeff Stodel, Dennis Vincent and Fred Mesropi for doing the right thing and withdrawing from the race and showing that they have what it takes to be judges - integrity and honor. I hope they run in 2018 when hopefully there will be more seats. Good luck with your race 'Joe' you have a lot more support than you may know.

David Hallstrom II said...

I graduated from law school with my best friend and now cousin who was a level 5 criminal gang DDA and appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at the age of 40. Had Gov. Brown noticed anything worthy of the DDA's running, he would have acknowledged them.

I personal know Naser Khoury and am certain that he will represent the people of L.A. County fairly, justly and with integrity. Non-political in nature, Naser is a caring father and husband and as a former DDA in Los Angeles, has the experience to server our communities.

I've read some about Berger and I would relish the opportunity to speak with him and find out who he truly is at this point in his career.

I'm not biased by my friendship with Naser Khoury, I would like the best to prevail. I simply believe in his true good and just nature that I have come to know.

Anonymous said...

It would be very helpful if you could state the political party alliances of the candidates.

Anonymous said...

David Hallstrom - first of all, Governor Brown has appointed 38 judges since the 2014 election. Only one was a DDA. His appointments have not been anything like Schwarzenegger's who appointed DDAs and PDs alike. Brown is trying to change the ethnic and gender makeup of the bench, as well as end the traditional recruitment of DDAs in favor of those more inclined to support his agenda. Second, I don't know Naser and I'm sure he's a nice guy, but to use your own words, "If Governor Brown noticed anything worthy of him, he would have acknowledged it." Get the point?

Anonymous said...

@6:25Am - All the candidates are liberal democrats who voted for Obama twice and love Hillary Clinton. They all support BLM and any protest against police brutality and mass incarceration. They are all huge supporters of AB109, Prop 47, and any other initiative that will release non-violent criminals back into the community, and even violent criminals as long as they promise to try to commit new crimes where the damage or loss is less than $950.

Anonymous said...

AB 109 and Prob 47 have worked. Stopped reading the party lines. AB109 has saved the county millions of dollars. No on is being released back into the community. State Prisons have more space which means county jail has more space... plus 80 percent of the Judges are DA's in the criminal courts.. its time for some equality on the bench

Anonymous said...

@10:09Am, AB109 did not save the county a penny it actually drove up the costs for all counties in California because its the counties that now have to pay for housing felons in county jail instead of state prison. You probably don't understand the difference at the moment. But you will when your property taxes go up to pay the increased costs. And 80% of criminal judges downtown are not former DDAs. You have no idea what your talking about.

Anonymous said...

@6:43 p.m. You're right! NOt all judges downtown are former DDA's. Some are former CA's.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous that deputy district attorneys try to use made up job titles to curry the public's favor by appealing to their prejudices...for example, child molestation prosecutor? There is no such job title. Yes, there is a Sex Crimes Division of the DA's office and DA's can rotate through that office but to suggest that his job is only to prosecute child molesters is misleading. The same with titles such as "Gang Murder Prosecutor"... give me a break.

Anonymous said...

12:54PM. I agree. The rule should simply be "What is your job title?" That way we would have "Deputy District Attorney," "Deputy Public Defender," "Criminal Defense Attorney," and "Personal Injury Lawyer." Much easier for the voters to understand.

Anonymous said...

Here's my prediction for the primary:
Office 11: Runoff Debra Archuleta v Steven Schriener
Office 42: Runoff Efrain Aceves v Cyndy Zuzga
Office 84: Runoff Javier Perez v Susan Townsend
Office 158: Runoff David Berger v Kim Nguyen

Anonymous said...

I think Fred Mesropi is the best qualified and one that has integrity and honesty to be a great judge not to mention 16 years of experience as prosecutor.