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Judicial Elections

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 2, 1996
Having practiced criminal and constitutional law as both prosecutor and defense attorney for 15 years, and having served as a judicial law clerk before that, I must both agree and disagree with Frank Wheat's observations about judicial elections in this state (Commentary, Jan. 25). In an earlier era, the judiciary pandered to the left wing; now it panders to the right; the evils associated with both are the same. Judges are generally running for reelection from the first day on the job. The solution is easy; change the Constitution so that trial judges do not have reelectability.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 4, 2012 | By Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times
For a sampling of what critics say are the inherent flaws in electing judges, look no further than the duel for Office No. 38 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The incumbent is sometimes referred to derisively as the "bagel lady," a nod to the bakery she and her husband ran when she ousted a sitting judge in 2006. Her opponent has vied unsuccessfully for a trial court spot — three times — and was involved years ago in an odd dust-up over his TV appearance on the "Love Connection.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 4, 1985 | NANCY HEFFERNAN, Times Staff Writer
A bill that would prohibit political parties from endorsing candidates for nonpartisan judicial office was approved Wednesday by the Senate Elections Committee. The proposal by Assemblyman Richard Robinson (D-Garden Grove) was approved 4 to 1 and sent to the floor despite opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union and others. The bill was introduced in response to a recent decision of the state Supreme Court.
OPINION
August 21, 2011
In 2008, a Carson-based pastor tried to unseat six Los Angeles County Superior Court judges. He couldn't get anyone to actually run against them, but he began a write-in campaign anyway by gathering the legally required 100 signatures, which forced the registrar of voters to make room for the six incumbents' names on the already crowded ballot. That meant more ballot materials printed at additional taxpayer expense. The pastor, Ronald C. Tan, said he was striking a blow against abortion, gay marriage, evolution — and a lack of Filipino judges.
NATIONAL
March 5, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Trial judges in New York will be picked by political convention one last time this fall after a federal judge delayed a ruling striking down the system, saying the state needed more time to develop a new one. Judge John Gleeson had ruled in late January that the state's unique practice of using political conventions, not primaries, to decide who would make the ballot for spots on the trial-level Supreme Court gave too much power to political-party bosses.
NEWS
August 13, 1987 | PHILIP HAGER, Times Staff Writer
Gov. George Deukmejian's intervention in last fall's bitterly fought campaign over the state Supreme Court has helped change the way California selects members of the judiciary for the "foreseeable future," former Justice Otto M. Kaus said Wednesday.
OPINION
August 6, 1989 | RONALD K.L. COLLINS, Ronald K.L. Collins is a visiting professor of law at Temple University and the co-author of a forthcoming book on state constitutional law .
The U.S. Supreme Court's new abortion ruling has perilous potential for our state judicial systems. Abortion translates into raw politics, the kind of politics that can wreak havoc with the practice of electing state judges. Judicial elections are the rule in California and 31 other states. These elections take many different forms, ranging from contested races to retention elections in which the public simply votes "yes" or "no" for a judge.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 15, 1996 | HENRY WEINSTEIN, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
Los Angeles County's system of judicial elections is about to face a serious constitutional challenge from a coalition of civil rights groups and low-income voters who contend that current practices violate the equal protection and 1st Amendment rights of non-wealthy voters and judge candidates.
NEWS
February 14, 2002 | DAVID G. SAVAGE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Big-money politics and TV attack-ad campaigns have invaded the once-staid world of judicial elections in recent years, a trend that highlights the difficulty of truly limiting the influence of money in politics. Election spending by state supreme court justices has more than doubled since 1994, according to a report to be released today.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 4, 2012 | By Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times
For a sampling of what critics say are the inherent flaws in electing judges, look no further than the duel for Office No. 38 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The incumbent is sometimes referred to derisively as the "bagel lady," a nod to the bakery she and her husband ran when she ousted a sitting judge in 2006. Her opponent has vied unsuccessfully for a trial court spot — three times — and was involved years ago in an odd dust-up over his TV appearance on the "Love Connection.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 2, 2011 | By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge was acquitted Monday of the charge that he had offered to pay an opponent to drop out of a 2008 election. The panel returned the verdict finding Judge Harvey Silberman not guilty of a count of elections code violation after about a day of deliberation, ending a trial that marked a rare prosecution of a sitting judge. Silberman was accused of violating a law that makes it a felony to offer money to dissuade someone from running for public office.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 30, 2011 | By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
With the clock ticking on a deadline to file for judicial elections in 2008, Deputy Dist. Atty. Serena Murillo got a phone call with an unexpected offer. Murillo was registered to run for seat No. 69 on the Los Angeles County Superior Court bench. The caller told her that her opponent, Court Commissioner Harvey Silberman, would pay her $1,787 filing fee if she dropped out of his race and agreed to run in another. If Murillo accepted, Silberman would have an uncontested shot at the coveted seat on the bench.
NATIONAL
April 5, 2011 | By Nicholas Riccardi, Los Angeles Times
A normally humdrum Wisconsin election that became a referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's battle against public employee unions was too close to call Tuesday night, as Democrats tried to oust a conservative state Supreme Court justice and shift the balance of power in the state. With 97% of the precincts reporting, Justice David Prosser and his challenger, Assistant Atty. Gen. JoAnne Kloppenburg, were in a virtual dead heat, the lead seesawing from one to the other as returns came in. The winner was not expected to be known before Wednesday, if then.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 5, 2010 | By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
Iowa's rejection of three state supreme court justices who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage underscored the growing electoral vulnerability of state judges as more and more are targeted by special interest groups, legal scholars and jurists said Thursday. "It just illustrated something that has been troubling many of us for many, many years," California Chief Justice Ronald M. George said. "The election of judges is not necessarily the best way to select them. " The three Iowa high court justices were ousted in the kind of retention election California uses for appeals court judges: They face no opposing candidates and list no party affiliation, and voters can select "yes" or "no. " Legal scholars have generally said that system is among the most effective ways of avoiding a politicized judiciary.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 25, 2006 | Jessica Garrison, Times Staff Writer
Judicial contests in Los Angeles County are usually quiet affairs. Not this year. First came June's election, when a bagel shop owner with limited legal experience ousted a highly regarded sitting judge, prompting near hysteria from some judicial officers who complained that the election's outcome had sent them into "despair." Now, a lawyer in his 70s is alleging age discrimination by the county bar association, which rates judicial candidates and called him "not qualified."
OPINION
June 11, 2006
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER did something Friday that every elected official probably dreams about: He overruled the voters. And though in this case his decision is justifiable, it's not something a democracy should encourage. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs, ousted by voters Tuesday in favor of the operator of a bagel shop, will not be leaving the court after all.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 30, 2011 | By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
With the clock ticking on a deadline to file for judicial elections in 2008, Deputy Dist. Atty. Serena Murillo got a phone call with an unexpected offer. Murillo was registered to run for seat No. 69 on the Los Angeles County Superior Court bench. The caller told her that her opponent, Court Commissioner Harvey Silberman, would pay her $1,787 filing fee if she dropped out of his race and agreed to run in another. If Murillo accepted, Silberman would have an uncontested shot at the coveted seat on the bench.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 31, 1985
Nonpartisan posts have, by law and tradition, been off limits to political parties in California. That should include judicial offices, too. It did, until last month when a California Supreme Court opinion held that although state law does prohibit political parties from making endorsements in local races, it is silent on judicial elections. And so the court held that political parties may endorse candidates in judicial elections.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 8, 2006 | Megan Garvey and Jessica Garrison, Times Staff Writers
The rare defeat of a highly regarded sitting judge ousted from the bench Tuesday by a bagel store owner who'd barely practiced law in the last decade sent a jolt through Los Angeles County legal circles, leading some to question whether the system to select judges needs overhauling.
NATIONAL
March 5, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Trial judges in New York will be picked by political convention one last time this fall after a federal judge delayed a ruling striking down the system, saying the state needed more time to develop a new one. Judge John Gleeson had ruled in late January that the state's unique practice of using political conventions, not primaries, to decide who would make the ballot for spots on the trial-level Supreme Court gave too much power to political-party bosses.
Los Angeles Times Articles
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