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Six more judges must face the ballot

March 24, 2008 |  9:43 am

Someone -- it's not yet clear who -- launched a write-in challenge to six Los Angeles Superior Court judges, making the June 3 ballot just a little bit longer.

The nomination period closed earlier this month with 10 contested races without incumbents and only one sitting judge, Ralph W. Dau, drawing an election challenge. That left the other 144 sitting Los Angeles Superior Court judges (about a third of the bench) who are up for election or re-election this year breathing sighs of relief; since no one filed against them, they were automatically elected without their names even going on the ballot.

But not so fast. A rarely exercised procedural provision for write-in candidates allows challengers extra time to file, and the Metropolitan News-Enterprise reported Friday that a write-in challenge has been lodged against Judges Juan Carlos Dominguez, Hector M. Guzman, Daniel S. Lopez, Daniel P. Ramirez, Jose Sandoval, and Michael Villalobos. All six must now appear on the ballot, even though there will be no opponent listed.

That now leaves 138 judges who were deemed elected in March. Most of them are unknown to people outside the legal profession, unless they were judges who happened to preside over a high-profile case -- O.J. Simpson criminal trial judge Lance Ito, for example, was just deemed re-elected without a vote -- or perhaps related to someone in politics or government, such as May Lou Villar, sister of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, or Fred Fujioka, brother of Los Angeles County chief executive Bill Fujioka. They, too, were among the gross of judges deemed elected this month when no one filed to run against them.

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