Incumbent L.A. judges easily defeat challengers
Three Los Angeles County Superior Court judges who faced challengers Tuesday easily won new terms, including a jurist who stunned the legal community six years ago by ousting a sitting judge.
Judge Lynn Diane Olson trounced challenger Douglas W. Weitzman, with Olson winning nearly 70% of votes. Olson was sometimes referred to derisively as the "bagel lady," a nod to the bakery she and her husband ran when she pulled off a rare defeat of a sitting judge in 2006.
Judge Sanjay T. Kumar snagged more than 60% of votes against Kim Smith, an assistant city attorney in Hawthorne. Supporters of Kumar had charged that Smith was targeting the well-regarded jurist because of his foreign-sounding name.
The third judge to face opposition, James D. Otto, won 70% of votes against Kenneth R. Hughey, a retired deputy Los Angeles city attorney.
Winning open judicial seats were prosecutors Sean D. Coen, Andrea C. Thompson and Eric Harmon.
Most of California's roughly 1,600 Superior Court judges are first appointed by the governor. Those judges appear on the ballot only if they are challenged for a new term. Other judicial elections take place if a judge retires or resigns very close to an election, leaving an open seat.
Trial judges earn a base salary of $178,789 and serve for six years.
— Ashley Powers
Photo: A sunset reflects against the Los Angeles County Superior Court building. Credit: Christina House / For The Times