[Joe] Escalante, 49 of Signal Hill, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles, is a member of the area’s gracefully aging rocker sect answering what happens when punk grows up. Some of Escalante’s peers went on to start record labels and families. Some cultivated new music careers in their 40s and 50s. Others got their Ph.D.s, fell into drugs, or became Subway sandwich artists. Escalante, though, ended up with seemingly the least punk-rock resume of all: a law degree, a legal expert job, a career in entertainment law, and conservative Catholic bona fides. But he’s managed, perhaps inadvertently, to keep the spirit alive by running for a judgeship with the express disapproval of the local legal establishment, facing down a lawsuit from a Hollywood publication, and generally saying the kinds of things in public that conservative J.D.s with political aspirations don’t say.
After donating his time over the past few decades to the LA Superior Court system as a volunteer temporary judge, Escalante is on next week’s June 5 ballot. He’s aiming to fill an open judicial seat, although he failed to secure a desired ballot designation next to his name and confesses that he has no real idea whether he has a chance of winning.