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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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Los Angeles County Superior CourtCandidate for Judge, Seat 60

Photo of Ben Colella

Ben Colella

Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles
180,587 votes (16.33%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • To treat all persons with respect and dignity, and to require all lawyers before me to be civil to each other
  • To hear both sides, to be fair, impartial, and unbiased
  • To make decisions according to California law, and the US Supreme Court, and to use restorative justice where possible



-Deputy District Attorney, over 28 years of extensive experience

-Seasoned in alternative justice including juvenile mental health and drug courts  

-Efficient, thousands of cases yearly in the busiest Juvenile Court in Los Angeles

-Skilled trial prosecutor, over fifty jury cases


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 Ben Colella:

Among important criteria that should be considered in evaluating a judicial candidate are  professional experience, trustworthiness, good character, integrity, fairness, and compassion,  being organized and thorough,  efficient, and having good analytical legal skills.

How can courts and judges better assure that all people have adequate access to legal help and the legal system?
Answer from Ben Colella:

In criminal matters courts must make certain that parties have adequate representation to ensure equal justice.  In other cases however, judges could even be facing litigants without counsel, and may need to extract facts while still being impartial and apply the law to achieve the correct result.  Partnerships can be formed by the court with bar associations and volunteer pro bono services to assist in many civil matters.  Informative court-approved and regularly updated  publications or videos on the proper forms and procedures are expremely helpful. Replace legalese with easy to use legal forms for cases which can include landlord-tenant disputes, small claims, and protective orders or expungements. Implement the use of e-filing via court websites, and implement the creation of a court companion App for mobile users.   A text messaging system can be used to inform parties of release conditions or future appearance dates similar to that currently used in Australia. Finally courts need to address the need for language access issues as well as those with cognitive disabilities.  Where live help is desired there is no substitute for knowledgable and eager to assist court staff.

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 Ben Colella:

California's bail system is broken, and reform is needed.  The right to remain free should not depend upon the size of one's wallet. A pretrial release assessment must occur using a series of risk factors which need  to include history and character,  probability of returning to court, and victim impact.

The victim's impact is particularly important in cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and child abuse. If the risk, taking the various factors into account, points to continued detention it would be much more fair than using the current cash bail.  In addition, decisions regarding release  should be made at an early stage of the criminal process.

A current  similar model to that used in present juvenile deliquency detention can be implemented  The juvenile system uses a variety of pretrial conditions of release include using electronic house arrest, protective orders, curfews, drug testing and frequent contact with a pretrial services. Finally, funding is continuously needed to establish a successful bail reform.  

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