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Naming Names in Voting Out a Judge

June 07, 1992

I am a little bit stunned and grossly disappointed by the defeat of my colleague, Abraham Aponte Khan, for election to a full six-year term to the Citrus Municipal Court bench.

I do not wish to detract from his successor, and my future colleague on the bench, Patrick Murphy, but I do feel that the election process in this case was a complete farce which, momentarily at least, has derailed the judicial career of an individual on the most whimsical grounds: Abe Khan has been turned out of office, not because of any dereliction of duty, lack of qualifications or dedication to his obligations to the public. He has been turned out because his name is Abraham Aponte Khan.

From what I have heard, I don't think judge-elect Murphy even intended to run against Abe when he initially appeared at the Registrar of Voters to file for the election. It was his intention to compete for the vacancy at Citrus Court occasioned by the retirement of Judge John Nichols.

Upon being told that Judge Nichols' seat would be filled by appointment, thereby voiding any competitive election at this time, judge-elect Murphy had two remaining alternatives: He could run against Robert O. Young (me), or he could run against Abraham Aponte Khan.

To me, it is tragic to see a fine judicial person brought down for the sole reason that his name isn't Murphy, or Jones, or Smith, or some other common name. I hope from the bottom of my heart that the governor will see fit to appoint Abe to some other judicial vacancy. In all likelihood judge-elect Murphy feels the same way.

I have no complaint about any public servant, be it judge or councilman or senator, being accountable to the public and subject to recall or rejection at any time. But it pains me to see it occur because you happen to have a name that characterizes you as an ethnic minority.

ROBERT O. YOUNG

Judge, Citrus Municipal Court

West Covina

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