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CRENSHAW : New Effort to Recall Judge Karlin Begins

July 04, 1993|ERIN J. AUBRY

To launch its second recall effort of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joyce Karlin in as many years, the Latasha Harlins Justice Committee staged a peaceful demonstration last week in front of the Monterey Park courthouse where Karlin is assigned.

About 30 vocal committee members, waving placards with such slogans as "Karlin Step Down--Save the Taxpayers Money," gathered at the Edmund D. Edelman Juvenile Court Building to garner support for their cause, as well as signatures for their petitions.

"We raised a great deal of interest among a lot of people," said committee member Gina Rae. "If we continue this pressure (and she would step down), we won't have to wait until next year and an election to recall Karlin."

Two years ago, Karlin fined grocer Soon Ja Du $500 and sentenced her to probation and 400 hours of community service for fatally shooting 15-year-old Latasha Harlins in a scuffle over a bottle of orange juice in a South Los Angeles market.

Latasha's aunt, Denise Harlins, and supporters have worked to overturn the ruling and recall Karlin, who was transferred from the Superior Court's criminal branch to Juvenile Court last year after the controversial sentence of Du, 51.

Rae and Harlins said they will demonstrate weekly to keep up the pressure on Karlin.

In a prepared statement, Karlin said: "At a time when all of us should be working to unite our city, this recall effort serves only to divide us and further inflame emotions. . . . The recall will cost financially strapped Los Angeles County hundreds of thousands of dollars which could be far better spent on community programs and services."

Last year, Karlin won a six-year judicial term, narrowly beating three little-known opponents.

Also last year, the Crenshaw-based committee failed to garner enough signatures to put a recall measure on the ballot. But in three weeks, Rae said, she has gotten 10,000 signatures supporting the second effort, and she is shooting for 50,000 by the end of the month. Although she needs 266,000 signatures of registered Los Angeles County voters by Nov. 4 to get the recall measure on the ballot next spring, Rae said she hopes to get 300,000.

And they are trying to acquire the site of the shooting, Empire Market, at 91st and Figueroa streets, from the California Korean Bank to turn it into a community youth center bearing Latasha's name. The committee is seeking nonprofit status for its Latasha Harlins Foundation, begun in December, to raise money to purchase the property, which is valued at $680,000.

"Ultimately, we're about peace and bringing people together," said Rae.

Information: (213) 291-9907.

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