All three candidates in the nonpartisan primary for Office 67 of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County—Fernanda Maria Barreto, Ryan Dibble, and Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes—have submitted Candidate Connection surveys to Ballotpedia. These surveys allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them on political and personal levels.
The race for Office 67 is one we are watching closely. The Los Angeles Times‘ editorial board wrote, “For many years, the most successful judicial candidates were prosecutors, presumably because voters believed that they would … deal more harshly with criminal defendants,” but added that “[t]his year there are several deputy public defenders running, an interesting development that’s part of the broader movement for criminal justice reform.”
Barreto and Dibble both have prosecutorial experience, working as deputy district attorneys in Los Angeles County. Lashley-Haynes has experience as a deputy public defender in the county’s public defender office.
When completing the survey, every candidate is asked to provide the key messages they want to share with voters. Here are excerpts from those responses. You can read each candidate’s full survey responses by clicking on their names:
Fernanda Maria Barreto: “With almost 16 years of experience as a DDA handling complex felony cases including murder, rape, and domestic violence, I am capable and qualified to take on the responsibility of being a Superior Court Judge.”
Ryan Dibble: “I will seek to maintain public safety and integrity of the judicial system by properly and objectively exercising discretion within the confines of the law.”
Elizabeth Lashley-Haines: “Improve public safety by addressing the root causes of crime”
Unlike partisan top-two primaries in California, in nonpartisan primaries, a candidate who receives more than 50% of the vote wins the primary outright. If no candidate crosses that threshold, the top two vote-getters will advance to a Nov. 8 runoff.
While the race is officially nonpartisan, meaning candidates will appear on the ballot without party labels, all three candidates have been endorsed by at least one organization affiliated with the Democratic Party.
There are 494 judges on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, making it the largest trial court in the country. Judges serve six-year terms. Offices on the court only appear on the ballot when an incumbent judge is challenged or, in the case of Office 67, no incumbent files for re-election. In 2022, contested races are scheduled for nine of the 167 offices up for election. Click here to learn more about judicial selection in California.
Judges on the Superior Court of Los Angeles County conduct all original trials in the county, except in cases where appellate level courts have original jurisdiction. According to the court’s website, “Cases range from simple traffic infractions to murders; landlord/tenant disputes to multi-million dollar lawsuits; guardianships to involuntary commitments.”