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George Takes Early Lead Over Former Boss Capizzi

Siegel is fending off challengers in first returns. Kelly, McNerney, Conley, Fell and Paer are ahead in their Superior Court races.


Based on early, unofficial election returns Tuesday night, Deputy Dist. Atty. Stephanie George was leading her one-time boss, former Dist. Atty. Michael R. Capizzi, in a race for a Superior Court judgeship, one of an unprecedented seven seats decided in Orange County judicial elections.

According to early results, George led Capizzi 61% to 39%. Capizzi and George were among 18 candidates vying for seats in the wake of a rash of retirements.

A win by George, 41, would represent an upset over Capizzi, 60, who has spent more than 30 years prosecuting crimes in the county.

In another closely watched race, incumbent H. Warren Siegel was far ahead of challengers Fred Anderson and Mark E. Farrar, both private attorneys. Siegel was trying to survive a rare attempt to oust a sitting judge.

Marc Kelly, a veteran gang prosecutor, was leading Yorba Linda Mayor John M. Gullixson in another race. Dan McNerney, a veteran homicide unit prosecutor, was leading three opponents: Jan Nolan, who was the highest-ranking female prosecutor under Capizzi; Michael J. Cassidy, a juvenile court referee and former police officer; and Jamie Duarte, a private attorney and former vice president of the Hispanic Bar Assn. of Orange County.

In another race, Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. John Conley, a prosecutor for more than 27 years, had a wide lead over Erick L. "Rick" Larsh, a Superior Court commissioner since 1997.

Another Superior Court commissioner, Sheila Fell, was comfortably ahead of fellow commissioner Michael A. Leversen, and Tom Dunn, a senior judicial attorney for the California Court of Appeal.

Also, Commissioner Gary Paer was leading Terese S. Oliver, a veteran prosecutor specializing in drunk driving and domestic violence cases.

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