Public defender and deputy district attorney advance to runoff for Office 67 of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County

Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes and Fernanda Maria Barreto advanced from a nonpartisan primary for Office 67 of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County after finishing first and second over a third candidate, Ryan Dibble.

Lashley-Haynes received 37% of the vote in the June 3 primary followed by Barreto with 36%. Since neither candidate received over 50% of the vote needed to win outright, the two will advance to a runoff on Nov. 8.

While the race was officially nonpartisan, meaning candidates appeared on the ballot without party labels, both candidates were endorsed by at least one organization affiliated with the Democratic Party.

The candidates’ legal backgrounds represent both sides of the courtroom, Lashley-Haynes as a public defender and Barreto as a deputy district attorney.

Both Lashley-Haynes and Barreto completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Below are excerpts from their surveys, which can be viewed in full by clicking on each candidate’s name:

  • Lashley-Haynes“[M]ass incarceration has failed us. Public defenders like me … are well equipped to understand the circumstances that bring Californians into the courtroom and to understand how to prevent crime.”
  • Barreto“With almost 16 years of experience as a [deputy district attorney] handling complex felony cases including murder, rape, and domestic violence, I am capable and qualified … of being a Superior Court Judge.”

The Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the Los Angeles County Public Defenders Union, and four superior court judges in the county endorsed Lashley-Haynes.

The Los Angeles Times, the Burbank Police Officers’ Association, and 21 superior court judges in the county endorsed Barreto.

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.

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.”