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3 IN RUNNING FOR BENCH.

Byline: Karen Maeshiro Staff Writer

LANCASTER - Two Los Angeles County prosecutors and a law school professor are running March 5 for the seat being vacated by retiring Judge Richard Spann.

The candidates are Acton attorney Larry Layton, who owns his own law school; Deputy District Attorney Richard Naranjo, a prosecutor in the Lancaster office; and Deputy District Attorney Craig Renetzky, who is in the major narcotics division.

None of the three candidates received the top rating of ``well qualified'' from the Los Angeles County Bar Association. All three were rated ``qualified'' by the association.

The offices of judges have six-year terms and pay an annual salary of $133,051.

If no candidate receives a majority of the votes in the nonpartisan election, then the top two vote-getters will square off in the November general election.

The election for Spann's seat is countywide, and there is no guarantee the winner will be assigned to the Lancaster court.

Layton, 59, owns and operates the Larry H. Layton School of Law. He has been in private practice since 1975 and in Acton since 1987. In the 1980s he volunteered as a temporary judge handling small claims, traffic and civil cases, and in the 1990s served as a court arbitrator.

The March election will be his fifth try since 1994 at running for judge. Layton said he has experience in both criminal and civil matters, with trial experience in hundreds of cases since 1975.

``They should vote for me because of my experience, and I want to provide the citizens of Los Angeles County with fairness, justice, promptness and respect,'' Layton said.

Layton said he has taught and written books on many legal subjects, including contracts, torts, evidence, corporations, real property, professional conduct, constitutional law, juvenile law, criminal and civil procedure, and legal writings and analysis.

Naranjo, 49, a resident of Santa Clarita, has been a prosecutor in the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office for more than 10 years, in Lancaster since August 1993.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Southern New Hampshire University in 1987, and a law degree from Southwestern University in Los Angeles in 1991.

Naranjo said he is running because for many years people have told him he would make a good judge. He said voters should elect him because of the number of cases he has handled and the ability to fairly administer justice.

``I would try and make sure the rights of the victims and witnesses are protected just as much as the defendants,'' Naranjo said. ``I will try to make the jury system more juror-friendly and work for a more smoother operation of all the courts now that we've become unified.''

Renetzky is a 34-year-old resident of the San Fernando Valley. He has been a prosecutor for 10 years, the last three in the major narcotics division working with a special drug task force. The task force, which includes sheriff's narcotics and gang detectives, spent three months in 1999 in the Antelope Valley.

He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Colorado College and his law degree from University of Southern California.

``A lot of people have been recommending I do it. I've traveled around the county and run into different people, and they said I would be a good judge,'' Renetzky said. ``My goal is to be a fair judge, that win or lose, parties are satisfied they got a fair hearing, be understanding to the public who have to serve jury duty and be witnesses, and I would like the courts be more user-friendly.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 25, 2002
Words:591
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