March 5, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Yo! Venice Interviews L.A. County Judge Candidate Michael Berg

Small business owner, private practice attorney and public advocate for mental health justice brings a new perspective to service on the bench

By Nick Antonicello 

Races for the position of LA County Judge can be complicated in the minds of most voters. 

Nonpartisan by definition, it takes the well-informed voter to truly examine the record and resume of these judicial hopefuls. 

I have interviewed many judicial candidates and most come from a career in public service such as a defender or prosecutor. 

But in the case of Michael Berg, he has spent his career in private practice for the last fifteen years and as a contract attorney for numerous law firms in connection with criminal investigations by the US Department of Justice as well as the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Much of his work was in options backdating, shareholder derivative actions, complex consumer class action as well as bankruptcy proceedings. 

Having handled thousands of cases, Berg has represented victims of domestic violence and other crimes to ensure that their voices are heard. As an advocate, Berg is concerned how victims and their families can be mistreated and disregarded. Part of his approach to the bench will be to ensure their point of view is heard and respected. 

For fairness is at the center of his campaign to serve. 

A first-time candidate for judicial office, Berg finds himself locked in a four-way contest that in all probability will eliminate two of the four candidates and move to a general election runoff in the fall. In a campaign he believes will cost roughly $150,000, Berg is raising the necessary funding while donating to his own cause. 

For in his practice Michael Berg has litigated in nearly every LA courthouse, from criminal cases to DUI, and believes every case is unique. 

He told the story of several defendants that turned their lives around and became productive members of society, something he takes great pride and believes mental health evaluation and placement is an important part of the criminal justice system. 

While emphasizing that those who have broken the law pay the price, he does believe entering the justice system should offer a way to help those who want to change their lives and move forward. 

The 46-year old husband and father of two school-age children, Berg is married to a fellow attorney and is a graduate of Grant HS in Van Nuys where he played varsity baseball playing the position of catcher. Still fond of the game, Berg is an avid Dodger fan. 

A Los Angeles native now residing in Glendale with his family, Berg is a 2002 graduate of California State University Northridge, where he earned his BA in Political Science. He went on to earn his JD from Southwestern Law school in 2005. Berg was admitted to the California Bar in 2006 and practices before the US District Court for the Central District of California. 

Berg clerked for the Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney as well as the Office of the LA County District Attorney.

But what makes candidate Berg interesting is his work ethic, for at the age of just15 was helping out his Dad, at Bob’s Quality Butcher Shop for nearly a decade. For during that time he assisted and manage annual sales and saw some thirty-two tons of filet mignon sold to area restaurants and consumers alike. 

From the meat room to the courtroom, this former meat cutter, handler and butcher now finds himself seeking a seat on the bench. 

In private practice for the last 15 years as a co-owner of his firm, LA Defense Team,  Berg believes his diversified legal and private business background makes his candidacy different and unique from the competition. 

Despite being a newcomer to elective politics, Berg has secured some heavyweight endorsements including Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-44), former California Senator, Majority Leader & Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, and former assemblymembers Dario Frommer and Mike Gatto as well as Arcadia Councilmember Paul Cheng. 

On the issue of a volunteer jury service, Berg believed that jury pools needed to cast a wide a net as possible and that retirees or public employees should not dominate the selections and believed diversity critical. 

He emphasized that judges “follow the law and carried out the law” so that justice is served. 

Berg believes that the discovery process, by which one party requests documents and information from the other party, should not be burdened or delayed. Discovery can be formal or informal and Berg believes that judges should keep their calendar on schedule. One priority for Berg will be access to mental health and substance abuse liaisons so that the appropriate treatment be available for defendants. 

For the appropriate mental health and diversion programs play a critical role in his court offered Berg, should he assume office. 

Accountability is important to Berg and emphasized identifying substance abuse for bail conditions. 

“I want to help people’s lives. Help is needed.” 

Berg summed up his candidacy by emphasizing his small business background while ensuring the victims of crime be properly heard and justice served. 

“I like to see the both sides of things,” said the candidate. 

A World War II history buff, Berg spoke fondly of his family trip to Normandy, France, the site of the historic invasion of Europe by the allies more commonly referred to as D-Day, some 80 years ago this June. 

“It was an amazing experience,” offered the hopeful. 

The primary is March 5th and you can visit the candidate online at: www.michaelbergforjudge.com

Nick Antonicello is a 31-year resident of Venice and covers the political scene as it effects this urban beach enclave. He is covering the races for District Attorney as well as the judicial races. Have a take or a tip, contact Antonicello at nantoni@mindspring.com

in Hard, News
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