Liquor store operator is running against longtime local judge James Kaddo

| April 28, 2016 | 0 Comments
Judge Kaddo

Judge James A. Kaddo

Stepan W. Baghdassarian wants to become a Superior Court Judge on June 7. The surprise candidate is running for the seat of Judge James A. Kaddo, who has been on the bench for 25 years and has been a Larchmont resident for 50 years.

Bagel lady election

The contest is reminiscent of the 2006 judicial election when a now-sitting Superior Court Judge, Lynn Diane Olson, changed her California Bar membership from inactive and declared her candidacy to run against well-regarded, longtime Judge Dzintra Janavs.

In an editorial following that June 2006 election, the “Los Angeles Times” wrote: “Olson has spent most of her career not practicing law but operating a bagel bakery in Manhattan Beach.”

In fact, because of that, few gave Olson much of a chance when she first announced her candidacy.

As the “Metropolitan News-Enterprise” later wrote of the 2006 election, “Despite the incumbent’s evident political disadvantage—her unusual Latvian name (Dzintra Janavs]—Olson did not appear to pose a real threat; she filed a Fair Political Practice Commission form declaring that her campaign would spend less than $1,000, engendering complacency in the Janavs camp.

“In the final weeks of the campaign, however, she poured about $120,000 into her effort, buying space on slate mailers, and winning.”

Ballot competition

Stepan Baghdassarian graduated from the Whittier College School of Law and was admitted to the California Bar at the end of 1989. He practiced law for just over 17 years and then became an inactive member of the bar in April of 2007.

Eight years later, on December 23, 2015, presumably in connection with becoming a candidate for a judgeship, Mr. Baghdassarian once again became an active member of the California State Bar.

Wine taster

During the later part of these years of inactivity, Mr. Baghdassarian was the “chief tasting officer” for an online wine retailer. He also was the president of Bar Depot, a wholesale wine and liquor store in Van Nuys.

25-year judge

Judge Kaddo is a retired U.S. Army veteran and has been a municipal and superior court judge for the last 25 years. As an attorney and judge, he has tried and heard thousands of cases. Judge Kaddo is the only Lebanese-born judge in America.

Judge Kaddo emigrated from Lebanon to Los Angeles in 1950 to join his mother, his sister and brother who had emigrated here before him.

Interestingly, Mr. Baghdassarian also immigrated to Los Angeles with his family from Lebanon. They came in 1976.

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Category: Real Estate

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