🗳️ March 2020 Primary Election Ballot Analysis (III): Judicial Offices

I’m now registered as a permanent vote-by-mail voter, and I recently received my ballot for the March California Primary. And that means it is time to start doing the detailed ballot analysis. This is where, for most contests, I examine each candidate and share my conclusions, and invite you to convince me to vote for the other jerk.

Because this is a long ballot, I’m splitting it into a few chunks:

  1. The Presidential Primary
  2. The Congressional, State and Local Offices
  3. Judicial Offices (this post)
  4. Ballot Measures
  5. Summary

This part covers the Judicial Offices, all Judges of the Superior Court: 17 ❦ 42 ❦ 72 ❦ 76 ❦ 80 ❦ 97 ❦ 129 ❦ 131 ❦ 141 ❦ 145 ❦ 150 ❦ 162. California’s systems for judges is — in some ways — a strange one. I’m sure it is shaped by past abuses, especially by politicians appointing unqualified judges. How it works is that lawyers wanting to move into the judicial system (and further their careers in a non-corporate law world) must start by running for the Superior Court, from which they can be appointed to the Court of Appeals or California Supreme Court. But winning a seat on the bench is more than a question of just your skills as a jurist. I don’t know whether each office handles different types of cases — that isn’t make clear on the ballot. But each election cycle, a certain offices come up for election. Up for election in 2020 are 188 Los Angeles Superior Court judges. Those who opt not to run in the March 3 primary and do not retire before their terms are up and in time for the governor to appoint a successor, will create open seats. The lawyer/potential candidate has to (a) indicate all the seats they might want to run for, and then (b) pick one of those to actually run in — hopefully the one with no or weak competition. Sometimes you luck out, and no one runs against you. Other times, you end up against equally strong people, and are faced with a public that often only picks people randomly or based on your job title. Lucky for you, I try to sort this all out.

ETA: Here’s a clarification from a friend of mine familiar with the area: A couple points of clarification. First, judges can either be appointed by the governor (more common method) or elected (less common method). Lawyers can theoretically be appointed directly to the Court of Appeal or to the Supreme Court without serving as superior court judges first, but it’s rare. (Justices Groban and Kruger are examples of CSC justices who were never superior court judges.) Second, judges who fill a seat either through appointment or election are not guaranteed a particular assignment. Judges do rotate their assignments so they could be in civil for a few years and then move to juvenile or probate or criminal or whatever. It depends on the needs of the court based on workload. By sleuthing around on the court’s website you can usually figure out what the current judge’s assignment is. Third, if a judge’s term is up, the judge elects to run for re-election, and the judge is unopposed, then that judge does not appear on the ballot and they are automatically re-elected. But if the judge is opposed, then you’ll see their names and the names of their challengers on the ballot.


Judge of the Superior Court

Office № 17

[✓] Shannon Kathleen Cooley

Shannon Kathleen Cooley (FB) is the daughter of former DA Steve Cooley. She’s a Deputy DA, currently in the Hardcore Gang division. She has loads of endorsements. She has been a prosecutor for over 10 years. She is the only person who filed a declaration of intent to run for this office. She doesn’t appear to have a Bar Association rating as she is running unopposed.

📋 Conclusion

Conclusion: [✓] Shannon Kathleen Cooley

Office № 42

[✗] Linda L. Sun

Linda L. Sun (FB) is a Supervising Deputy Attorney General at California Department of Justice. She represents over 40 state agencies under the Department of Consumer Affairs in the prosecution of professional licensees. She began her career as Deputy Attorney General in the Licensing Section of the Attorney General’s Office, California Department of Justice.  Before that she worked at the Milken Family Foundation and worked for March Fong Eu. She is rated qualified by the LA County Bar, and has a large number of endorsements, roughly split 1/3rd judicial and 2/3rd political. She’s endorsed by a number of progressive voter guides.

[✓] Robert “Bob” Villa

Robert “Bob” Villa is a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney currently working in the Special Trials department. Villa has spent over 30 years in the district attorney’s office.
In 2016 he was recognized by Justice for Homicide Victims as a “Prosecutors of the Year” for “exemplary work in the pursuit of justice on behalf of murder victims.”  He is rated “well qualified” by the LA County Bar Assn. He is endorsed by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, and has a fair number of judicial endorsements. .

📋 Conclusion

Generally, when presented with multiple qualified candidates for the court, I like to encourage diversity on the bench. Diversity on the bench promotes understanding, and it also sends a message to the defendents of fairness and that they have people that understand their situation on the bench. But in this case, I have to go the other way. Sun’s experience, although criminal, is less in the heavy crime sense and more in the consumer crime. Her set of endorsements gives a much more political sense to her candidacy. Her opponent had a higher rating from the bar, and perhaps more imporantly, has had a longer careers in the DAs office focusing on criminal prosecutions. He seems to just have better experience for the bench, although I couldn’t find any evidence regarding judicial disposition.

Conclusion: [✓] Robert “Bob” Villa 

Office № 72

[✗] Myanna Dellinger

Myanna Dellinger (FB) is a confusing paradox. Dellinger is a Danish-American law professor, climate change and international law specialist, and Fulbright Scholar. She’s been an instructor at USD, and has authored loads of papers that have influenced the law. She does podcasts on the law, and appears to be well respected. She has a small but respectible number of endorsements. Yet the LA County Bar rated her as “not qualified”. Why? All I can figure is that her experience is more academic, and they wanted more experience in court and in the community.

[✓] Steve Morgan

Steve Morgan (FB) is a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, Major in the Army JAG Corps, and law professor at Abraham Lincoln University Law School. As a DDA, Jacobs has prosecuted murders, child molesters, domestic violence and other violent crimes as well as complex white-collar crimes in courthouses throughout the county. He is rated well qualified by the LA County Bar Association. He has a large number of endorsements.

[✓] Robert F. Jacobs

Robert F. Jacobs (FB) is the owner of Robert F. Jacobs & Associates, PLC, and primarily handles immigration law matters, including deportation defense, naturalization/citizenship and family visas in Los Angeles and throughout the country. Additionally, he defends the rights of those accused of a crime and conducts post-conviction relief motions in the Supeior Court. Jacobs is admitted to practice in many state and federal courts. These include the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the United States District Court for the Southern and Central Districts of California, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and  the States of California and Wisconsin. He was rated qualified by the LA County Bar, likely because of the narrower focus of his practice. He has a fair number of endorsements.

📋 Conclusion

Much as I think Dellinger is an extremely smart candidate and could bring more diversity the court, her lack of court experience and her rating knock her out of the running. Morgan and Jacobs make an interesting contrast. Morgan is more experienced with a broad range of cases and is higher rated; Jacobs has great experience with a vulnerable segment of the population, but has a more narrow set of court experience. Much as I think Jacobs could bring something good the court, I think Morgan’s broader range will serve better on the court, while I really want Jacobs out there helping the immigrants maneuver through the court system.

Conclusion: [✓] Steve Morgan (FB)

Office № 76

[✓] Emily Cole

No, this isn’t Emily Cole the musician. Emily Cole (FB) has spent the last 13 years serving the County as a Deputy District Attorney. She currently specializes in the prosecution of child and adult sex crimes in the prestigious Sex Crimes Division, downtown LA.  Previously, Emily served throughout Los Angeles County handling homicides, domestic violence, family violence, stalking, and elder abuse. According to Courage California, this experience includes the prosecution of Dino Guglielmelli, a wealthy businessman that tired to hire a hitman to kill his wife. She also led the prosecution of Shehada Issa in 2017, who was found guilty of murdering his wife and son and was sentenced to life in prison.  She is rated as qualified by the LA County Bar, and has the endorsement of the Assn of Deputy DA. She has a large number of endorsements.

[✗] Judge Mike Cummins

Oh, what a tangled web one weaves when one changes a name to deceive. Cummins is a retired lawyer who lives in San Luis Obispo, and even ran for SLO DA in 2018. He legally changed his first name to “Judge” so that he could use it on the ballot. The name change, and using it on the ballot, has been the cause of some dispute, but legally he was allowed to use it. Metnews, a local legal paper, has a whole article on why Cummins is unfit for this position.  Cummins was even a used car salesman. That article also notes that his passion is not the law: “Music, it would seem, is Cummins’s first love—as confirmed by his longtime friend, San Luis Obispo lawyer Ian Funke-Bilu, who has been quoted as saying of Cummins: “I think it was during his last years when he was a judge that he realized that he didn’t really love the law like he loved country music.” Cummins has apparently not had a passion for the law, but an interest in it; it’s been not his “jealous mistress,” but a steady date. There was, however, a splitting up on Jan. 17, 2017, when he went on inactive California State Bar status, followed by an ostensible reconciliation when he reverted to active status on Feb. 1, 2018, after announcing his candidacy for district attorney of San Luis Obispo County. He remains on active status but has not resumed his practice.”  He is rated as Not Qualified by the LA County bar.

📋 Conclusion

This one is a no brainer. We have a qualified DDA vs someone unqualified trying to game the ballot.

Conclusion: [✓] Emily Cole (FB)

Office № 80

[✓] Nick C. Rini

Nick C. Rini (FB) has been a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney for 35 years. He practiced civil law for 4 years, joining the DA’s office in 1984. It looks like he has tried a wide variety of cases as a DDA. The Metnews article on him provides some insights on how he works, noting that a recent assignment had him facing a judge that tended to overweight the defense’s evidence: “His calendar judge is notoriously lenient and prone to give unreasonable credence to the defense’s offer of proof. As a consequence, in each case before her, Mr. Rini must double his research and preparation in order to persuade the judge to reject the unreasonable. It is a tireless effort, and Mr. Rini deserves high praise for his unceasing efforts in this regard. Mr. Rini prepares his caseload without compromise nor procrastination.” He was rated Qualified by the LA Bar Association. He shares the endorsement with Berger from the Assn. of Deputy DAs. He has a small number of endorsements from Superior Court judges.

[✓] Klint James McKay

Klint James McKay (FB) is an Administrative Law Judge for the Department of Social Services. For someone who supposedly knows administrative law, he had a very muddled filing history when he last ran for a judgeship. Somewhat surprisingly, he was rated as “Well Qualified” by the LA County Bar Association. He didn’t provide any information to Voter’s Edge. He has a very small number of endorsements — none of whom are judges.

[✓] David A. Berger

David A. Berger (FB) has run for Superior Court Judge a number of times before. Berger holds law degrees from the University of London and Loyola Law School Los Angeles. During his second year at Loyola, Berger started an externship at the LA County District Attorney’s Office as a Certified Law Clerk. Berger was the first Certified Law Clerk to conduct a multi-count felony jury trial, securing six guilty verdicts for residential burglary. After graduating from Loyola, Berger was hired as a Salaried Law Clerk, assigned to the Major Crimes Division where he worked until being hired as a Deputy District Attorney. Voters Edge enumerates his experience as follows: Deputy District Attorney, LA County District Attorney’s Office (2010–current); Special Assistant City Attorney, City of Los Angeles (2009–2010); Deputy District Attorney, LA County District Attorney’s Office (1998–2009); Salaried Law Clerk, LA County District Attorney’s Office (1997–1998); Senior Law Clerk, LA County District Attorney’s Office (1996–1997). Metnews notes that this is his third bid for a judgeship, but there are some significant differences this time around. In both 2016 and 2018 he was running against female candidates, and a push for diversity on the court hurt him. He also had to deal with what seems to be a grudge from the Bar Association related to his having a blog. They gave him a “Not Qualified” in 2016 and 2018 because they were upset by what he wrote (for details, see my 2016 judicial analysis) — now he is rated Qualified. Since the 2018 election, Berger has been assigned to the Victim Impact Program (‘VIP’) in Van Nuys, which provides vertical prosecution in cases involving particularly vulnerable victims such as children who have been subject to sexual or physical abuse, elders who have been victims of financial or physical abuse, as well as adult victims of sexual abuse, stalking and domestic violence. This has exposed him to more challenging legal issues.”

Back in 2018, he was endorsed by the LA Times and by MetNews, who noted at the time that “he has the potential of becoming one of the court’s stellar members. He is even-tempered, highly articulate, and dignified. He grasps arguments quickly and knows the law, enabling him to decide matters without pondering.” He has a large number of endorsements, including the MetNews endorsement.

📋 Conclusion

All of the candidates are qualified and not immediately dismissable. McKay is the weakest, not being local to Los Angeles and only dealing with administrative law. That leaves the battle between Rini and Berger. I think Berger has the edge on experience, organization, and qualifications. I particular noted the following in the Metnews article on Berger: “Mr. Berger has developed his own. highly effective, ‘paperless’ system for keeping track of cases assigned to him. All phases of prosecution, from initial presentation, follow-up investigation, case filing, case-settlement or trial, exist both in the traditional DA file, as well as on his iPad. In this way he is able to handle the heavy caseload of his assignment effectively and efficiently, thereby ensuring that he can make all his court appearances, respond to discovery requests, and request appropriate follow-up investigation in a timely manner. In addition to handling assigned cases, Mr. Berger has taken the time to develop solid working relationships with law enforcement agencies so that they have a better idea of what is expected of them in order to deliver cases that can be evaluated and either appropriately filed, referred or declined. Detectives working with Mr. Berger know that they can contact him outside working hours so that their in-custody filings are handled thoroughly, accurately, and without delay.” Berger also has a much greater depth of endorsements. Third time is the charm, and all that rot.

Conclusion: [✓] David A. Berger (FB

Office № 97

[✓] Timothy D. Reuben

Timothy D. Reuben has been the managing principal at Reuben Raucher & Blum since 1992. According to his website, he has litigated all types of business and tort cases, including real estate, construction, entertainment, copyright and trademark, trust and estates, employment, securities, antitrust, insurance, unfair competition, professional negligence, and complex civil matters.  Superlawyers considers him a top business litigation attorney. He is rated “Well Qualified” by the LA County Bar Association. He has a fair number of endorsements, about 13 of which are judges. Metnews hasn’t said much about Reuben.

[✓] Sherry L. Powell

Sherry L. Powell (FB) is a Deputy District Attorney focusing on gang homicide prosecution. She has 13 years of experience. I couldn’t find that many more details online. She is rated as “Qualified” by the LA Bar Association, and is endorsed by the Association of Deputy District Attorneys. Although her website is simple and consists only of a front page, it lists lots of endorsements from judges and organizations.  Metnews didn’t have that much to say about her.

📋 Conclusion

Both candidates are qualified, but Reuben seems to have a significant lack of experience in the criminal courts. This gives the edge to Powell, who does have that criminal experience.  However, she needs to learn better how to design a website to convey that experience. She also adds to the diversity on the bench.

Conclusion: [✓] Sherry L. Powell (FB)

Office № 129

[✓] Kenneth M. Fuller

Kenneth M. Fuller is an LA County Deputy District Attorney, Fullerton Commissioner, and member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, where he serves as a military judge advocate (JAG). In the DAs office, he has worked in the Environmental Crimes Division, the Hardcore Gang Division, and the Victim Impact Program (VIP) specializing in the prosecution of sex crimes, domestic violence, elder abuse, and child molestation and abuse. His website notes that he has handled thousands of criminal cases and has tried numerous trials to verdict over a legal career that spans fourteen years, and has practiced in the civil, criminal, juvenile and military courts. He ran for judge before in 2018, and was endorsed by MetNews. He is rated as Qualified by the LA County Bar Assn. He has a large number of endorsements.

[✗] Mark MacCarley

Mark MacCarley is a managing attorney at MacCarley & Rosen, PLC. Prior to that, he was a senior officer in the US Army. He ran for city council in Glendale in 2017.   Accprdomg to MetNews, “Glendale attorney Mark MacCarley, 68, gives the impression of being resigned to suffer yet another election loss. He was defeated in his 2010 and 2016 quests for election to the State Assembly and in his bid last year for a place on the Glendale City Council. MacCarley attempted to run in the March 3 primary for the Superior Court as “Retired Army General,” but was told by the Office of Registrar-Recorder that his chosen ballot designation was legally impermissible, and is listed on the ballot, simply, as “Lawyer.” MacCarley has no campaign committee and gives every appearance of having abandoned his effort.” However, he does have a website for his campaign. It describes his experience and demonstrates his commitment to public service (laudible), but shows no judicial experience or criminal litigation experience. His website lists no endorsements. He is rated as Qualified by the LA County Bar Association.

[✗] Bruce A. Moss

Bruce A. Moss (FB) has been practicing attorney for over 35 years in private practice with his own law firm. His specialty is family law and estate planning.  He has served as a volunteer Temporary Judge since 2017, which led to some problems with his ballot listing. Reading his about page, he has little criminal experience; his judge experience is primarily in family law cases as well as domestic violence, civil harassment, and elder abuse cases. He has a small number of endorsements (single digits).  He is rated as Qualified by the LA County Bar.

📋 Conclusion

This year may be the year for Fuller. His opponents lack criminal experience, and fall way behind in endorsements (which reflect how well people think they will be as judges, especially when they come from other judges).

Conclusion: [✓] Kenneth M. Fuller 

Office № 131

[✓] Michelle Kelley

Kelly Michelle Kelley (she’s dropped the first “Kelley” on the ballot, just as Mindy Paige Davis Page, has simplified her name) is a Deputy DA, and has been practicing law since 2007. According to her website, she has “prosecuted dozens of jury trials including murders, child molestation, and forcible rape” but has also had “hundreds of cases that I have been able to resolve without the need for a jury trial. ”  However, she has “only pushed for pleas where a defendant is willing to accept responsibility”.  As hers was not a competitive race, she was not rated by the LA Bar Assn. She does not list any endorsements on her website currently.

📋 Conclusion

I truly wish we had more information on Michelle Kelley, but as she is running for this office unopposed, she’s the only choice.

Conclusion: [✓] Michelle Kelley

Office № 141

[✓] Lana Kim

Lana Kim (FB) has been a Deputy District Attorney for almost 15 years, and currently assigned to the Sex Crimes Division, where she has been protecting victims of sexual assault. She also handled complex fraud cases while assigned to the White Collar Crime Division. Prior to the District Attorney’s office and law school, she worked for Governor Gray Davis as his Special Assistant in his Private Office in the State Capitol. As hers was not a competitive race, she was not rated by the LA Bar Assn.  She has a large number of endorsements listed on her website. Metnews summarizes this as: “Fifty nine sitting Los Angeles Superior Court judges have endorsed Kim, including Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile and Assistant Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor, as well as Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Tricia Bigelow of this district’s Div. Eight.” She is active with the Association of Deputy DAs.

📋 Conclusion

This is an unopposed office, but luckily, one with a skilled candidate worthy of the judgeship even in a competitive race.

Conclusion: [✓] Lana Kim (FB)

Office № 145

[✓] Troy Slaten

Troy Slaten (FB) is Managing attorney and Partner at Floyd Skeren Manukian Langevin. Before entering the law, he was an actor; that experience served him well as he has been a legal analyst for several broadcast networks and their subsidiaries, including Fox News Channel, CNN, HLN, CBS, and NBC. He also has been a frequent guest on television shows including Nancy Grace, Dr. Drew, Happening Now, The O’Riley Factor, Sheppard Smith Reporting, and Primetime Justice. He has served on the Superior Court as a temporary judge. He is a criminal defense attorney and has sometimes been characterized as a former prosecutor, although MetNews notes why that description is problematic. He is rated as “Qualified” by the LA Bar Assn. He has a fair number of endorsements.

[✓] Adan Montalban

Adan Montalban (FB) is a Deputy DA assigned to the Hardcore Gang Division of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. He has tried over 100 trials. He is endorsed by MetNews, but when you read their editorial, you see that they are less recommending Montalban than going off on Slaten for not disputing the characterization as a former prosecutor. Metnews tends to be very picky on the titles people use. But Montalban has his own share of problems. According to Knock-LA, Montalban “has been found to have violated discovery rules, had a case overturned for egregious misconduct, and fabricated evidence in the middle of trial.” But still, Montalban is rated Qualified by the LA Bar Association, and has a slew of endorsements, including the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, SEIU 721, Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Stonewall, The Loyola Project for the Innocent, Deported Veterans Support House and over 50 judges including Judge Kevin Brazile, Presiding Judge of Los Angeles County. He has the endorsement of the Association of Deputy DAs.

📋 Conclusion

For this office, we have two qualified candidates, each with their own baggage. One, a criminal defense attorney, is misrepresenting himself as a former prosecutor when he was only a volunteer prosecutor. The other, a Deputy DA,  violated legal rules regarding evidence and discovery. The latter seems more significant to me, and I think it is useful to have some balance on the court for all of the other Deputy DAs: we need some folks who are familiar with fighting for the innocence of the defendent.

Conclusion: [✓] Troy Slaten (FB)

Office № 150

[✓] Manuel Alejandro Almada

Manuel Alejandro Almada (FB) has been a Deputy City Prosecutor for the City of Long Beach, a Deputy DA for Santa Barbara County, and since 2013, a Deputy District Attorney with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, currently assigned to the prestigious Victim Impact Program, where he prosecutes sex crimes and serious domestic violence cases. He has a large number of judicial endorsements and is rated as “Qualified” by the LA County Bar Association. He has the endorsement of the Association of Deputy DAs.

[✗] Sherri Onica Valle Cole

Sherri Onica Valle Cole (FB) was a career criminal prosecutor with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and now works in private practice as a Civil Litigator. She graduated from Yale University with a degree in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, and was a Loyola Scholar at Loyola Law School. Her website makes the claim that she is the only candidate to have served as a Judge Pro Tem, which anyone reading my research for this election knows not to be the case.  According to MetNews, she was fired from the LA City Attorney’s office for “alteration by her of a doctor’s report on her medical condition and insubordination by serving as a judge pro tem after authorization to continue to do so was denied.” The MetNews article notes that she boasts of her treatment of management personnel while a union representative by “getting in their face and calling them liars.”, and indicates that she has disclosed that she has “been involved in some sexual harassment complaints.” She lists no endorsements, and is rated as “Not Qualified” by the LA County Bar Association.

[✓] Tom Parsekian

Tom Parsekian (FB) is founder of Parsekian Law Corporation (which doesn’t have a website). His website indicates that “For nearly 30 years I’ve had the pleasure to serve as a litigation and trial lawyer in the Superior Court.” Yet that experience is not listed on his LinkedIn Profile.  LinkedIn does note, regarding his law firm experience, “Specialization and expertise – Complex litigation; Inverse Condemnation jury trials; state and federal appeals; Intellectual Property Litigation; Member of the bar, United States District Courts; Attorney and Counselor of the Supreme Court of the United States” That latter bit, as he notes on his website, refers to the following: “Tom has had the privilege of successfully arguing cases on behalf of his clients before the United States District Courts, California state and U.S. Courts of Appeal, and is a member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court.” Note that this includes little criminal trial experience. He has a fair number of endorsements, including 11 judges. He is rated as qualified by the LA County Bar Assn.

📋 Conclusion

The decision here is between someone with a depth of experience in prosecution and criminal courts, and someone whose court experience is primarily complex intellectual property litigation and appeals cases. That latter experience might be good for the Court of Appeals, but my understanding is that Superior Court is primarily criminal.

Conclusion: [✓] Manuel Alejandro Almada (FB)

Office № 162

[✗] Caree Annette Harper

Caree Annette Harper (FB) is a criminal defense attorney who has her own practice. According to her private practice website, she has federal and state jury trial experience and has obtained significant downward departures for federal criminal defendants and successfully argued before a three-judge panel at the 9th Circuit for a reversal of the lower Court’s ruling in a federal civil rights action. She has helped many victims of civil rights violations, and provided oversight of the polls in the 2008 election. Before becoming a lawyer, she was a police officer in the East Bay until injured. She has a fair set of endorsements. She is rated “Not Qualified” by the LA County Bar Association, for unstated reasons. Perhaps, according to MetNews, this is because she’s been held in contempt of court a number of times, and has demonstrated “willful and reckless” misconduct. The implication from the MetNews article appears to be problems with judicial temperament.

[✓] Scott Andrew Yang

Scott Andrew Yang (FB), who seems to have a second campaign website as well, is not the Andrew Yang that was running for President. Scott Yang is currently a Deputy District Attorney assigned to the Sex Crimes Division, where he is known for not only his record as a strong criminal prosecutor, but as an advocate for victims and families. Previously, Scott worked for the Los Angeles County District Attorney in the Juvenile Crimes unit and has prosecuted cases ranging from domestic violence to child abuse, murder and other criminal offenses. He has a large list of endorsements, and is rated “Well Qualified” by the LA County Bar Assn. Metnews notes that one Los Angeles Superior Court judge who has observed him asserts that Yang is “not ready for the bench,” terming him a “very, very nice guy” but possessed of an “average, at best, legal mind” and “NOT respected as a legal scholar, strong advocate or skilled lawyer.” They also note, however, that Yang’s past three annual office evaluations lend him the rating of “Exceeded Expectations (Very Good).”

[✓] David D. Diamond

David D. Diamond (FB) appears to be in private practice as a Criminal Defense Attorney. He has been a lawyer for 20 years, and according to his webpage, has a wide array of experience in the courtroom, having litigated criminal, civil, and family law matters in the Los Angeles Superior Court. He states that he is a State Bar Certified, Criminal Law Specialist and served as the Chairperson of the Burbank Police Commission, as well as a Temporary Judge for the Los Angeles Superior Court. Metnews has problems with how Diamond is representing himself. He is profiled on the MetNews site, but they focus on the whole misrepresentation thing and not his qualifications. He has a fair number of judicial endorsements. He is rated Well Qualified by the LA County Bar Association.

📋 Conclusion

This final judicial battle comes down to two well qualified candidates: one a prosecutor, one a criminal defense attorney. But each of the candidates has their problems as well: Yang has been viewed by some as less skilled; the website for Diamond’s firms comes across like one of those cheesy defense lawyer websites. Still, it is useful to get a mix of defense and prosecution on the bar. Diamond, at least, seems to have the criminal background necessary for the court, as well as a good breadth of experience.

Conclusion: [✓] David D. Diamond (FB)