The 2020 Presidential Primary Election takes place on Tuesday, March 3rd, which is just around the corner! In addition to determining who our Presidential candidates will be, we also have to decide who our San Diego Superior Court Judges will be. State court judges in California serve six-year terms and are elected by county voters on a nonpartisan ballot at a general election, and vacancies are filled through appointment by the Governor. At the end of each term, judges must seek re-election, and attorneys seeking judgeships are able to run for one of the positions up for re-election.

The San Diego Superior Court has four contested judicial seats, and there are eleven candidates running for these four seats. Although these are very important decisions, there is scant information out there to help us make our determinations about who to choose for these judicial seats.

Fortunately, the San Diego County Bar Association (SDCBA)  has created a Judicial Voting Guide to help!  SDCBA’s Judicial Election Evaluation Committee evaluates candidates on 15 different factors including fairness and objectivity; integrity and honesty; decisiveness; judgment and common sense; judicial temperament; knowledge of the law; professional reputation; trial experience; intellect and ability; tolerance and lack of bias; caseload management; courtesy and patience; writing and research skills; and compassion and understanding. Factors that are not part of the evaluation process: religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, race, gender, disability, nor type of law practiced.

“Our goal in providing evaluations of judicial candidates is to help San Diegans make informed decisions when voting for candidates running to be a judge,” said Johanna Schiavoni, 2020 SDCBA President. “As the largest law-related organization in San Diego County, we seek to assist voters by providing neutral evaluations of judicial candidates based on a rigorous vetting process. The JEEC, which prepares the evaluations, includes attorneys from broadly diverse backgrounds and professional experiences, to reflect a wide set of viewpoints in evaluating candidates running for judicial office.”

For more than 40 years, the SDCBA has evaluated candidates in contested judicial elections as a public service because there is very little information on judicial candidates that is readily available to the public. The SDCBA’s evaluations do not compare opposing candidates nor do they endorse or oppose the election of particular candidates or imply the SDCBA’s support of a particular candidate.

For more information on the March 3rd elections, check out the San Diego Registrar of Voters website and the March 2020 Primary Election Candidate List. (The list of candidate for the Superior Court of San Diego seats start on page 42!)