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Judicial Choices for Various Court Posts

Only one Superior Court seat, Office No. 8, is being contested in Los Angeles County, and we strongly urge that the incumbent, Judge Lourdes G. Baird, be reelected.

Judge Baird, a former federal prosecutor with wide experience, is one of the most outstanding jurists currently sitting on the Superior Court bench. That is one reason, among many in her distinguished career, that led President Bush to submit her name for Senate confirmation as the new United States attorney for Los Angeles. Judge Baird’s nomination now is pending before the Judiciary Committee. Until it acts and the full Senate votes, which may take some time, the people of Los Angeles County will want to retain the services of a jurist of proven excellence.

For three of the four contested Municipal Court seats, the decision is equally clear. In Office No. 13 of the Los Angeles Municipal Court, for example, the incumbent, Judge Emily A. Stevens, is an experienced member of the bar whose intelligence, fairness and hard work on the bench have won her the respect not only of her judicial colleagues, but also of the prosecuting and defense attorneys who appear before her. For those reasons, she has been rated well qualified by the Los Angeles County Bar Assn. Her opponent has been rated unqualified. We urge that Judge Stevens be reelected.

Similarly, in the Antelope Valley Municipal Court Judicial District No. 1, the incumbent, Judge Richard E. Spann, is an experienced, highly respected jurist with close ties to the community. He has been rated well- qualified by the bar association, while his opponent has been deemed unqualified. Judge Spann should be elected to another term.

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In the race for the open Downey Judicial District seat, the only candidate rated well-qualified by the bar association’s rigorous evaluation system is Marvin Licker. That, coupled with the experience he has gained as a court commissioner, leads us to recommend Licker’s election to the seat.

Four candidates rated well-qualified by the association are seeking the open Santa Monica Municipal Court Office No. 3. Two of them, labor lawyer David B. Finkel, a member of the Santa Monica City Council, and Municipal Court Commissioner Norman Perry Tarle, are particularly worthy. Both have outstanding records of public service and tough-minded but compassionate notions of how judges of the Municipal Court ought to discharge their duties.

However, Tarle’s five years of applicable, hands-on experience as a court commissioner gives him a slight edge in what is, on the merits, a very close race. For that reason, we recommend that Commissioner Norman Perry Tarle be elected to Office No. 3.


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