Patterico's Pontifications

10/30/2008

Judicial Races: Recommendations

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:54 pm



A number of people have asked me for my input on local judicial races.

The short answer is: you should vote for the prosecutors in every race.

The long answer is in the extended entry.

This post is, for the most part, merely a more focused rehash of my recommendations for the last election. Five of those races resulted in a runoff. In four of those races, I am merely rehashing my previous recommendations; in the other, I am making a new recommendation where I couldn’t decide before.

Here are the recommendations:

First, recall what I said in my initial set of judicial endorsements:

I’m not going to lie to you. So if I don’t like someone, I won’t falsely praise them. I just won’t say anything.

That’s not an implication that I have anything bad to say about anyone in this race. I’m just telling you the ground rules for this and all future races. You’re unlikely to see me trashing anyone, ever, because that would be idiotic.

But if I say something positive, I mean it. And I’ll try to tell you something personal about the people I am talking about, to give you a sense of what I think about them and why.

I’ll probably repeat this every time I ever make judicial endorsements, for the rest of my life, so that nobody will ever draw a negative implication from any of my statements.

Again, this is a run-off race, meaning that I’ve already made endorsements in each of these races. In most cases I’ll simply quote what I said before, and possibly elaborate a bit.

Office 94: C. Edward Mack v. Michael J. O’Gara

I strongly endorse Michael O’Gara. As I said in my previous post:

Mike is my top recommendation in this election. I worked with him in Central Trials downtown and really like him. He’s just a really smart guy who knows what he’s doing and would be fair.

But I have a soft spot for Mike for another reason: he’s a fan of the blog, and an occasional commenter under the handle “MOG.” (He authorized me to say that, so I’m not giving away any state secrets.)

You must vote for Mike O’Gara in this election or I will ban you from my blog. ‘Nuff said.

Office 84: Pat Connolly v. Lori-Ann C. Jones

I endorse Pat Connolly in this race. Here’s what I said about Pat last time around:

In every profession there are company men and people who buck the system. There is no question that Pat Connolly is a guy who bucks the system. I think it’s fair to say he has pissed off some people in the D.A.’s office, including some supervisors. But it’s even more fair to say that he’s one of the most talented and principled prosecutors the office has.

Pat is a very skilled lawyer who has handled countless murder cases, including many extremely high-profile cases. He is a character — the type of person that the District Attorney’s Office used to have in spades, but has traded in for the more faceless, corporate type of personality. If you’re looking for a robotic type of person, Pat isn’t your guy. Pat is hard-driving, superbly organized, and cares about his cases and his victims.

Personally, I like people who call them as they see them, and to hell with the consequences. Pat is that type of guy.

I think he is a fantastic D.A., and I think he would make a fine judge.

I rarely address Bar Association ratings because they are too often political, and can form a platform for uninformed and petty revenge. But I’d like to take a moment to address the fact that the local Bar association has rated Pat “not qualified.” I have spoken to Pat about this, and suffice it to say that I put absolutely no stock in the Bar’s rating. (In any event, his opponent is also rated “not qualified” as well, so even if you’re foolish enough to rely on the Bar, it’s a wash.)

Pat has done some of the higher-profile murder cases in recent memory — for example, the scum who killed a sheriff’s deputy in Long Beach — and is one of the most respected Deputy D.A.’s in the office. When he worked in Compton, years and years ago, I remember when one of the defense attorneys was asked who was the most feared D.A. in the building. The answer was Pat. He is a very hard worker, very smart and tremendously organized, and — in short — the Bar is full of it.

Office 72: Hilleri Grossman Merritt vs. Steven A. Simons

I endorse Hilleri Merritt.

In the general election, Hilleri was running against another Deputy D.A. I know, and I couldn’t choose between them. I did note: “Hilleri worked with my wife in the Sex Crimes Unit downtown.” I have a positive view of her from that acquaintance. However, I had also worked with one of the other candidates, and couldn’t pick.

Now, the other candidate I know failed to make the runoff. Hilleri easily gets the nod over this Steven Simons fellow, who is someone I never heard of before.

Office 82: Cynthia Loo vs. Thomas Rubinson

Tom Rubinson received my endorsement before, and does again. Here, the L.A. Times endorsed Tom’s opponent, saying: “She is running against two prosecutors, including one — Thomas Rubinson — who has risen high in the district attorney’s office and is well-regarded by colleagues. But Rubinson lacks the respect that many defense lawyers accord his colleagues. Loo is, narrowly, the better choice.”

In response, I said this about Tom:

I don’t know Loo, but I know Tom Rubinson. He’s a hard-driving Deputy D.A. who has handled serious cases without blinking. He is smart and has good judgment. I can see where defense attorneys might not all like him; he’s pretty serious and hard-edged. That’s OK with me because I don’t like crime. I endorse Tom.

I should add that I think Tom is a fair man. I have never heard anyone say that defense attorneys don’t like him; my comment was simply an attempt to respond to the L.A. Times criticism. I have no reservations about endorsing Tom again. He’s fighting the L.A. Times endorsement of his opponent, as well as other factors that have nothing to do with merit (women and minorities do better in these races, all other things being equal). He’ll need your vote.

Finally, we have:

Office 154: Rocky L. Crabb vs. Michael V. Jesic

I endorse Michael Jesic. I don’t personally know him, but he has an excellent reputation in the office.

18 Responses to “Judicial Races: Recommendations”

  1. Thanks P. I dug up your older post last week when I voted absentee. I appreciate hearing your opinion — my usual default is to read the endorsements of the Daily Breeze and the LA Times, and go with the Breeze where the two disagree.

    JVW (f93297)

  2. M-O-G !
    M-O-G !

    Since I cannot legally cast a ballot for MOG, will I be banned?

    JD (5b4781)

  3. JD:

    Yes. Find a way.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  4. Kevin James, former prosecutor in U.S. Attorney’s office, and now of KRLA, agreed with all these picks, save Merritt. IIRC, his endorsement of Simons was not strong, however.

    Thanks, Pat. I am glad to not waste my vote.

    Ed (d7cda1)

  5. I have family in Pasadena. If I got them to vote for MOG, somehow, would that count?

    JD (5b4781)

  6. Yes.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  7. Done deal. Plus, Better Half has a lot of “cousins” in your neck of the woods, and I had her send that to all of them. Since the Vietnamese community, traditionally, has one of the highest percentages of legal immigrants amongst them, they should be able to vote, and now they can do so with good recommendations.

    JD (5b4781)

  8. No JD, it won’t count.

    Because you’re racist.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  9. Damn! How could I forget?

    JD (5b4781)

  10. Is there still time for me to register in a city/state I don’t live in and mail in my absentee ballot? :)

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  11. Thank you. If I lived in LA County, I would find this to be quite informative and helpful; providing it is a good public service.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  12. Scott (comment 10, 10:14), you’ll have to see the good folks at ACORN about that.

    JVW (f93297)

  13. Patterico:

    Thanks, I filled in those blanks. But there are three more propositions on which I want your input before I decide how to vote (as always, I don’t guarantee to accept your advice; but I want to read it).

    Proposition 5 – Nonviolent drug offenses, sentencing, parole, and rehabilitation.

    Proposition 6 – Police and law enforcement funding, criminal penalties and laws.

    Proposition 9 – Criminal justice system, victims’ rights, parole.

    Thoughts on those initiatives?

    Thanks,

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (db2ea4)

  14. Dafydd,

    I’ll get to all of them.

    I just put up a post opposing Proposition 5.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  15. Thanks, Patterico. Dennis Prager, KRLA,870,AM radio has often lamented the paucity of information for voters to use in selecting judges that have the most direct influence on local crime. You do the public a valuable service with your considered opinions.

    C. Norris (da0d19)

  16. Thanks Pat … again. Keep up the great work.

    MOG (c949f7)

  17. Good luck, MOG !

    JD (5b4781)

  18. Thanks JD – I’m sure Pat won’t ban you for life … only as long as Pete Rose is out of baseball. Or Michael Vick … whichever is sooner.

    MOG (c949f7)


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