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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
Judicial

Los Angeles County Superior CourtCandidate for Judge, Seat 4

Photo of Alfred A. Coletta

Alfred A. Coletta

Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles
920,807 votes (40.51%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Provide equal access to justice for all.
  • Provide a fair opportunity to be heard.
  • Exercise fairness, impartiality, respect, and balance in well-reasoned judicial decisions.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County
Deputy District Attorney IV, Office of the District Attorney for Los Angeles County (1988–current)
Board of Director, Rossmoor Community Services District — Elected position (2002–2014)

Education

Western State College of Law Juris Doctor of Law, Law (1986)
California State University, Los Angeles Bachelor of Science, Environmental Health Science (1979)

Community Activities

Board of Director and President, Italian American Lawyers Association (1988–2006)
Board of Director and President, Rossmoor Homeowners Association (2000–2002)

Biography

  • Served every day in the courtroom for 31 years.  
  • Prosecuted 43 murderers and other violent criminals. 
  • Prosecuted sexual predators and domestic violence perpetrators.  
  • Prosecuted hardcore gang members and major drug traffickers.  
  • Tough on violent crime but fair in court. 

 

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (17)

  • Southeast District Bar Association
  • National Latino Peace Officers Association
  • Metropolitan News Enterprise
  • Los Angeles Times Newspaper
  • Torrance Police Officers Association
  • Los Angeles African American Women Political Action Committee
  • Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs
  • National Coalition of 100 Black Women
  • Los Angeles City Attorneys Association
  • Long Beach Police Officers Association
  • Latin Prosecutors Association
  • Los Angeles Police Protective League
  • Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association
  • CA Narcotics Officers Association
  • Association of Deputy District Attorneys
  • Burbank Police Officers Association
  • Italian American Lawyers Association

Elected Officials (2)

  • Hon. Mike Gipson, Assemblyman 64th District
  • 50 Los Angeles County Superior Court Judges (see website www.colettaforjudge.com).

Individuals (2)

  • Hon. Steve Cooley (former elected District Attorney)
  • Doug Haubert, City Prosecutor, City of Long Beach

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of Los Angeles County (3)

What criteria are most important for voters to use in evaluating judicial candidates?
Answer from Alfred A. Coletta:

A candidates broad based legal experience as an accomplished trial lawyer, ethical, integrity, fair to all people, and having excellent temperament, should be the voter's utmost priorities in evaluating a judicial candidate.  In evaluating my judicial candidacy,  please consider:

  • I have been in the courtroom every day for over 31 years and possess both civil and criminal trial experience. 
  • I acquired experience in Juvenile Dependency Courts advocating for the protection of abused children and conducted trials, when I served as a Deputy County Counsel with the Office of the County Counsel for L.A. County. 
  • I have completed 10 misdemeanor jury trials to verdict and over 120 felony jury trials to verdict, as a Deputy District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles since 1988 to the present date. 
  • 43 of the felony jury trials were homicides and 3 with special circumstance allegations. 
  • I have been assigned to elite trial units such as, Hardcore Gang Division, Major Narcotics & Forfeiture Division, Environmental Crimes & O.S.H.A. Division, and Justice System Integrity Division. 
  • I have prosecuted and tried cases against police officers for violations of criminal law and lawyers, as well. 
  • I am trained to serve as a grand jury advisor for the criminal grand jury process and have personally conducted 5 criminal grand jury hearings and obtained indictments in all matters.  
  • I possess civil trial experience in prosecuting companies and corporate managers for unfair business practices, and civil prosecutions for violating L.A. County water streams. 
  • I possess bankruptcy experience prosecuting an administrative priority claim for fines and penalty assessments imposed against a corporation and its managers in one of the largest criminal prosecutions in Los Angeles County regarding an environmental crimes case.  
  • I am a person of honesty, integrity, ethical behavior, and diligent.  
  • I am respectful to all persons, fair, decisive and have an excellent temperament for the position of Judge.  
  • I have endorsements from numerous Los Angeles County Superior Court Judges, opposing counsel, prosecutors, and other elected officials.  
  • I have never had a jury trial verdict reversed on appeal. 
  • I have demonstrated that I can distinguish between the person who appears to be the technical law breaker as contrasted to the person who will harm society. 
  • Born and raised by immigrant parents in the City of Los Angeles. 
  • The first in my family to attend high school, then worked my way through college and law school.  
How can courts and judges better assure that all people have adequate access to legal help and the legal system?
Answer from Alfred A. Coletta:

A Judge can assist people to have more effective access to the legal system by being a good listener, respectful to all persons, not failing to rule, and issue decisions that are simple to understand and well reasoned.  Sometimes litigants (including persons representing themselves), fail to follow legal procedure and/or fail to establish a legal element in proving up a matter.  An understanding judge can assist without being an advocate for the individuals cause of action.  A judge should point out what is lacking so the individual may decide if they wish to proceed or withdraw their request and amend their motion to conform to what is legally required. 

Most defendants are held in County jail before trial because they are not able, due to low income or homelessness, to secure bail imposed by the Court at their arraignment.  Does California’s system of imposing bail on defendants need reform?  If so, what would you recommend?
Answer from Alfred A. Coletta:

 California’s system of imposing bail on defendants was in dire need of reform. Today, that bail system has fundamentally changed; if a court finds a defendant does not have the financial ability to pay the bail, the court is obligated to consider less restrictive alternatives to continued confinement in jail.

 In his 1979 State of the State address, then Governor Brown called the California bail system an unfair "tax on poor people [who] languish in the jails of this state even though they have been convicted of no crime. Their only crime is that they cannot make the bail that our present law requires." He urged the Legislature to find "a way that more people … can be put on a bail system that is as just and as fair as we can make it." The Legislature ignored him.

In her 2016 State of the Judiciary Address, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, told the Legislature it cannot continue to ignore “the question whether or not bail effectively serves its purpose, or does it in fact penalize the poor.” Questioning whether money bail genuinely ensures public safety or assures arrestees appear in court, the Chief Justice suggested that better risk assessment programs would achieve the purposes of bail more fairly and effectively.

 In Re: Kenneth Humphrey, decided on January 25, 2018, fundamentally changed the bail system in California. The ruling involved Jeffrey Humphrey, 63, a retired shipyard worker and lifelong drug addict. He was charged with mugging a 79-year-old man who uses a walker and lives in the same apartment building. Humphrey slipped into the victim's room, threatened to put a pillow case over his head, was given $2, stole another $5 and lifted a bottle of cologne. His bail was assessed at $350,000. The standard 10% fee to a bail bond agent would have cost $35,000. Humphrey was incarcerated for months pending trial.

 The appellate court unanimously ruled that "by setting bail in an amount it was impossible for [Humphrey] to pay," it in effect amounted to a violation of "due process protections" guaranteed by the Constitution. The justices said the suspect was entitled to a new bail hearing at which the court must consider "his ability to pay" and "nonmonetary alternatives to money bail."

 A court may not order pretrial detention unless it finds either that the defendant has the financial ability but failed to pay the amount of bail the court finds reasonably necessary to ensure his or her appearance at future court proceedings; or that the defendant is unable to pay that amount and no less restrictive conditions of release would be sufficient to reasonably assure such appearance; or that no less restrictive nonfinancial conditions of release would be sufficient to protect the victim and community.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Because a judicial election is nonpartisan and apolitical, I believe it would be inappropriate to describe my political philosophy. Each person who takes the oath of judicial office, must not consider their pollical views in any way when addressing cases, controversies or issues that come before them. A judge should address each case on its own merits without any regard for their own political or religious philosophy. As a judicial officer, I will faithfully follow and enforce the laws of the United States and the State of California as proposed by the Legislative Branch, approved by the Executive Branch, and interpreted by the Appellate and Supreme Courts.

  

 

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