A judge has ruled that a candidate for district attorney lawfully listed “public defender, federal” as her ballot designation.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff ruled Tuesday that Rachel Rossi’s ballot designation did not violate the state Elections Code. He heard arguments Tuesday morning, then took the case under submission before ruling Tuesday afternoon.

The petition challenging Rossi’s ballot designation was filed by David R. Evans, who identified himself as a registered voter. In their court papers, lawyers for Evans maintained the average voter would be misled by Rossi’s “public defender, federal” ballot designation because she now works in private practice.

“She has one source of income and one job, which is working at Cohen Williams LLP as a private practice attorney,” Evans’ lawyers stated in their court papers.

However, Rossi maintained that supporters of rival candidate George Gascon were behind the challenge to her ballot designation. Gascon is a former San Francisco district attorney. The primary election is scheduled March 3.

“I was disappointed that George Gascon’s team decided to challenge my ballot designation when I correctly listed my former occupation on the ballot as a federal public defender,” Rossi said.

“It is unfortunate that we spent Christmas Eve in court defending a baseless challenge. I am happy, however, that the judge agreed with us today and denied the petitioner’s frivolous petition.”

Rossi said she has been an attorney for 10 years and served as a Los Angeles County deputy public defender and an assistant federal public defender until she resigned in February.

“As the judge ruled today, my ballot designation describing my former job as a federal public defender is appropriate under the law,” Rossi said.

Rossi’s attorney, Marc S. Williams, also praised Beckloff’s ruling.

“We are pleased that the court followed the law and issued the correct ruling today,” Williams said. “Rachel Rossi’s ballot designation emphasizing her experience as an assistant federal public defender is truthful, accurate and lawful.”

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