YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Orange County Elections : Lawyers Say Many Judicial Candidates Are 'Unknown'

May 23, 1986|JOHN SPANO | Times Staff Writer

Most Orange County lawyers don't know whether the vast majority of candidates for judgeships in the June 3 elections are qualified to hold office, according to a poll released Thursday.

A majority of lawyers responding to a survey by the Orange County Bar Assn. said 13 of the 18 candidates for Municipal and Superior court positions are "unknown" to them.

Roger A. Grable, bar president, said the survey is intended to provide voters with information about the judicial races and is not an endorsement of any candidate. About 20% of the attorneys surveyed answered the questionnaire, a response rate that Grable called good.

Each of the five candidates whom a majority of lawyers said they know well enough to judge was rated qualified.

A single candidate was rated unqualified: James Edward Wilkoski of Newport Beach, a lawyer who said that if elected he will begin Superior Court sessions each day with the Lord's Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of "God Bless America."

A total of 151 lawyers responding rated Wilkoski unqualified for the Superior Court bench. He won qualified and highly qualified ratings from 22 respondents. A vast majority of lawyers--564--said they did not know Wilkoski well enough to rate him.

Wilkoski could not be reached for comment.

The tightest race, according to the poll, is among three candidates vying to succeed retired Superior Court Judge James F. Judge.

Both William W. Bedsworth, a deputy Orange County district attorney, and Robert H. Gallivan, an attorney, were rated qualified by more than 97% of those responding. The third candidate, Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Joseph L. Barilla, won more then 70% approval, but only one in five lawyers responding knew him well enough to rate his performance.

Asked how voters could make choices if many judicial candidates are not well known to local lawyers, Grable responded that it's up to the candidates themselves to present more high-profile campaigns.


Superior Court Total Responses Highly Not Per Candidate Qualified Qualified Qualified Joseph L.Barilla 736 14 67 33 William Bedsworth 769 308 204 13 David H. Brickner 792 194 255 56 Robert H. Gallivan 765 268 192 10 William F. McDonald 760 179 194 23 Anthony J. Rackauckas 753 103 134 97 James E. Wilkoski 737 5 17 151

Superior Court Unknown Joseph L.Barilla 622 William Bedsworth 244 David H. Brickner 287 Robert H. Gallivan 295 William F. McDonald 364 Anthony J. Rackauckas 419 James E. Wilkoski 564

Source: Orange County Bar Association

Municipal Courts Total Responses Highly Not Per Candidate Qualified Qualified Qualified James A. Bates 690 9 74 63 Richard E. Behn 777 146 141 17 James M. Brooks 722 84 134 34 Brian R. Carter 746 147 166 70 Betty L. Elias 773 189 250 132 Diane D. Norby 726 9 42 45 William H. Randall 665 4 21 24 Paul S. Robbins 728 16 32 34 Rogert Robbins 714 6 26 10 Robert E. Thomas III 745 44 50 45 Robert Von Esch Jr. 639 114 167 30

Municipal Courts Unknown James A. Bates 544 Richard E. Behn 473 James M. Brooks 470 Brian R. Carter 363 Betty L. Elias 202 Diane D. Norby 630 William H. Randall 616 Paul S. Robbins 646 Rogert Robbins 672 Robert E. Thomas III 606 Robert Von Esch Jr. 328

Source: Orange County Bar Association

Los Angeles Times Articles