Race for the Gavel (part 1 of 3)

During the June 6th Primary Election, you’ll be able to vote for Superior Court Judges in a handful of offices. I recently contacted any of the eligible candidate whose email addresses I could easily find at SmartVoter and asked all of them to reply with reasons why you, blogging.la readers, should give them your vote.

Beginning today I’ll be posting the their responses. To start, I’ll focus on Offices No. 18 and No. 95.

Office 18 has six candidates, of which three replied to my email, John C. Guiterrez, Stephen M. Feldman and Daviann L. Mitchell.

Gutierrez has been an Administrative Law Judge for the past twelve years with over twenty three years total legal experience. Mitchell is a former police officer and is currently a Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County Hardcore Gang Division. Feldman has been practicing law in L.A. for over thirty years trying cases in the Superior Court, as a transactional attorney, and also has experience as a Judge Pro Tem and a Superior Court Arbitrator.

Of the two candidates for Office 95, only Richard Kraft responded to my email. Kraft is a 1981 USC Law School graduate, and was honored this month as Prosecutor of Year by the LA County Bar’s Criminal Justice Section.

As promised to all candidates, their full replies are posted after the jump. Tomorrow I’ll post additional responses, plus some commentary on why you should pay attention to this part of the election.

John C. Gutierrez, Administrative Law Judge
Judicial Candidate Office 18

I’ve served as a Deputy District Attorney, private attorney, special counsel and I am currently a State Administrative Law Judge. With more than 23 years of legal experience, including more than 12 years on the bench, I have handled thousands of cases.

I have been endorsed by many prominent organizations and individuals such as Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and Teamsters Joint Council 42.

Outside of the courtroom, I help “Women Advancing the Valley through Education, Economics and Empowerment,” an organization that works to reduce domestic violence and protect victims, arranges events. I am also passionately involved with an early intervention program organized by “Communities in Schools of the San Fernando Valley.” I participate in activities that provide guidance and encouragement to teens aimed at preventing at-risk youths from taking part in gang activities.

To learn more about me or to see all of the people/organizations that have endorsed me, visit my Web page at http://www.smartvoter.org/2006/06/06/ca/la/vote/gutierrez_j. You can also e-mail me at [email protected]

Steve Feldman, Attorney At Law
Judicial Candidate Office 18

I am running for Los Angeles County Superior Court, Office Number 18. I have been practicing law in Los Angeles County for over thirty years. During my career, I have had office locations in Century City, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and Encino. I am a litigator,meaning that I try cases in the Superior Court, as well as a transactional attorney, drafting contracts, estate plans, franchise documents, etc. I also have appellate experience in the Court of Appeal and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.

During my career, I have handled a myriad of cases in many different types of courts. I am a member of the California Supreme Court, the United States District Court of California, Central and Northern Districts, the United States Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, the United States Tax Court and the Federal Court of Claims.

Aside from my breadth of experience, I have bench experience as a Judge Pro Tem and a Superior Court Arbitrator. Perhaps most importantly, in this stage of my career, I have decidedto dedicate the balance of my career, to public service to the people of Los Angeles County as a Judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. If elected, I will work hard and run an efficient courtroom. I will be prepared at all times. I will read all paperssubmitted and give each counsel and litigant appearing in my courtroom a fair and impartial hearing and decision. In essence, I hope to have a user-friendly, non-intimidating courtroom environment where counsel and litigants alike will be proud and pleased to appear.

Thank you for affording me the opportunity to express my thoughts, feelings and qualifications. Everyone that has the ability to vote, should vote. Our right to vote is a privilege that should be freely, intelligently and often utilized so that we can indeed have a say in who ultimately becomes our elected officials. When you do vote, please vote for me, Stephen M. Feldman for Los Angeles County Superior Court, Office Number 18.

Daviann Mitchell, Criminal Gang Prosecutor
Judicial Candidate Office 18

With over 20 years of law enforcement experience as both a prosecutor and a police officer, I have dedicated my career to making our community safer to making a difference. My experience has ranged from patrol officer in an urban police department, to a state Supreme Court judicial clerk, to civil litigation and finally to a Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County Hardcore Gang Division. For me, making a difference has always been a priority and taking the bench as a Superior Court judge is the next step in her dedication to serving the community. My common sense and professional experience would benefit not only the parties to the case, but society as a whole.  

I have all of the qualities we look for in a judge: fair, ethical, reasonable, well grounded, and professional. I also have the background, both civil and criminal, and trial experience that is necessary to be a good jurist.  

I am currently a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney in the Hardcore Gang Division, where my job is to put gang members who commit murder behind bars. I have tried over 140 jury trials, which include over 100 felony jury trials. Of those 100 felonies, I have a 94% conviction rate. The majority of my trials have involved gang murder, domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.  

Prior to myr work as a prosecutor, I worked as a Sacramento Police Officer, specializing in narcotics enforcement and working with police service dogs. Further, I was a Criminal Justice instructor at the Los Rios Community College. I then enrolled in the Southwestern University School of Law. In 1992, I was honored to be selected for a clerkship for Chief Justice Charles E. Springer at theSupreme Court of Nevada.  

I have been recognized by my peers and supervisors for my prosecutorial excellence. I have been nominated for Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney of the Year, and won an award for outstanding investigation and prosecution of domestic violence cases. The Theatre of Hope for Abused Women honored me as their 2000 Role Model Award recipient, and I later served on their Board of Directors. 

I am an internationally recognized dog breeder and handler and is very involved in the canine community. I was appointed by the Governor to the State Board for Guide Dogs for the Blind, which issues licenses for instructors who train both blind persons and their service dogs. I am also involved in the Los Angeles County Deputy DistrictAttorneys Association, Los Angeles County Bar, and Los Angeles Inns of Court.  

I have been endorsed by the Los Angeles Times where they described me as the “best choice” in a crowded field and that I “earned top marks for fairness and integrity from defense lawyers who have squared off against [me] and judges who have presided over [my] cases.” I have also been endorsed by District Attorney Steve Cooley, former District Attorney Gil Garcetti, Sheriff Lee Baca, Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriffs Association, Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys, Crime Victims United of California, and the National Woman’s Political Caucus 

As a single mother, I am dedicated to instilling honesty, integrity, and a sense of fairness to my daughter, Mary Ann. Coming from an immigrant background, I appreciate the many opportunities our country and justice system have to offer. I WILL make a difference as a Superior Court Judge.


Richard Kraft, Criminal Prosecutor
Judicial Candidate Office 95

My name is Richard Kraft and I am a criminal prosecutor running for Judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Office No. 95, in the June 6th election. The election is county-wide, and any registered voter who lives in Los Angeles County may vote. I have responded with information about myself because the court system is often the most direct contact citizens have with the government. It is important for voters to know the qualifications of judicial candidates.

I graduated from U.S.C. Law School in 1981. In 1989, I left a large firm civil practice to serve the community as a prosecutor. I prosecute sex offenders and crimes against children, including sexual abuse and child pornography, and have prosecuted more than 200 criminal jury trials. On May 4, 2006, I was honored as Prosecutor of the Year by theL.A. County Bar, Criminal Justice Section, an award presented annually to a prosecutor who has “consistently demonstrated legal excellence in the field of criminal justice.” The L.A. County Bar has rated me “Well Qualified.”

Courtroom skills, including significant and recent trial experience, and a strong background in the rules of evidence are critically important for a judge. I have spent my professional career of 25 years in the courtroom. I also train other trial prosecutors, and was the primary author for a chapter in the California District Attorneys Association manual “Investigation & Prosecution of Domestic Violence” which has been used by prosecutors statewide for the past 8 years. Most recently, I taught at a statewide CDAA program on the prosecution of a Cal-OSHA death case. This followed my successful prosecution and conviction of two multi-million dollar corporations and several individuals (including the president of one corporate defendant) for causing a 43 year old worker’s death by willfully violating safety orders.

Please vote on June 6th. Thank you.

More information about me is available at www.kraftforjudge.com

The following is a partial list of my endorsements:

U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters
Hon. Steve Cooley, Los Angeles County District Attorney
Hon. Leroy D. Baca, Los Angeles County Sheriff
Hon. Mark Ridley-Thomas, 48th Assembly District
Hon. Janice Hahn, Council Member, City of Los Angeles, 15th District
Hon. John Duran, Council Member, City of West Hollywood
Hon. Jeffrey Prang, Council Member, City of West Hollywood
Hon. Steven G. Madison, Vice-Mayor, City of Pasadena
Michael D. Mason, Esq., General Counsel, State of California Division of Occupational Safety and Health
Robert E. Hirshon, Esq., past President, American Bar Association

Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS)
Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA)
Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC)

Los Angeles County Democratic Party
National Organization for Women SFV/Northeast LA Chapter
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO)
Teamsters Joint Council 42
Laborers’ Local 300
UFCW Local 324

Crime Victims United of California
Mexican American Bar Association
Latina Lawyers Political Action Committee
Multi-Cultural Bar Alliance
Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles
Korean American Federation of Los Angeles

Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley
Gardena Valley Democratic Club
New Frontier Democratic Club
Sherman Oaks Democratic Club
Stonewall Democratic Club
West Hollywood Democratic Club

Hon. Tricia A. Bigelow
Hon. Robert L. Hess
Hon. Michael K. Kellogg
Hon. Ruth A. Kwan
Hon. George G. Lomeli
Hon. Stephen A. Marcus
Hon. Stephanie Sautner
Hon. David Sotelo
Hon. Craig E. Veals
Hon. D. Zeke Zeidler

* Titles for identification purposes only

4 thoughts on “Race for the Gavel (part 1 of 3)”

  1. I wonder, what are their opinions on the drug war? Especially that Daviann Mitchell guy. And Richard Kraft, how does he feel about this whole legislating social networking sites?

  2. Bravo for focusing on judicial elections – easily the most ignored section of the ballot and the one with the highest drop-off (ie: the point at which people just stop voting – starts after “president” or “governor” and goes up from there) and the most ignorant votes cast.

    That we have elected judges at all is – in my opinion – not the best idea ever, but since we do, it’d be nice to spend more time knowing the people on the ballot. Thanks for your efforts!

  3. Thank you for helping me decide on the judicial elections. Hard to find info on the web. Will bookmark your site and pass it on. You’re doing a great service. Keep up the good work!

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