Editorial: Our choices for Santa Cruz judges
by Press-Banner Editorial Board
May 06, 2010 | 6181 views | 3 3 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In an unusual election year, two judicial seats in the Santa Cruz County Superior Court are up for election June 8.

Five experienced and qualified individuals have put their names into the running for the open seats, and after interviewing all five, the Press-Banner Editorial Board has concluded that there can be no wrong choice. Our endorsement, however, goes to the two candidates we believe would best serve Santa Cruz County as judges.

Superior Court Judge Office 3 Philip Crawford is not your average candidate for judge. Much of his 40-year career has been spent working as an advocate with families and children. It’s still his passion, and if elected, he hopes to work solely on family and juvenile cases, an area that in today’s fractured society seems to be terribly important. We believe this is valuable, because if he is allowed to take an assignment in family court, it will free up more experienced judges to handle the criminal calendar, including the seeming increase in violent crime in the county due to gang activity.

Crawford maintains that judges can help with the gang problems that have reared their ugly head in Santa Cruz by helping the community organize. He said he would plan community meetings and has experience securing millions in grant funding — a task he could pursue for Santa Cruz as a judge.

Although Crawford has not spent much time working in the county, he’s lived here for decades, making him familiar with the area without any buddy-buddy relationships in the court system.

We believe his judgeship would bring a breath of fresh air to Santa Cruz, and his passion for helping families would pay dividends in our court system.

Superior Court Judge Office 10

Rebecca Connolly is a high-powered judicial candidate who could sit at the bench the next 20 years. She was president of Women Lawyers of Santa Cruz County and received the prestigious Roland Hall Award from the Santa Cruz Bar Association last year.

Connolly is fluent in Spanish, and her experience on federal cases gives her a broad perspective that could be valuable in our relatively small Santa Cruz courts.

She has done little work in criminal law, but her academic achievements show that the learning curve will not be too steep. She stresses that she would want every person in her courtroom to feel listened to before a ruling were made.

We believe Connolly’s energy and vision for the future, combined with her strong background in constitutional law, make her an ideal candidate for judge.

Running against Connolly is Steve Wright, a longtime Santa Cruz defense attorney. His fatherly demeanor would also serve the courts well, and he would surely treat everyone who entered the courtroom fairly. He has been a mentor to youth most of his adult life and he would continue to do so from the bench, a quality Connolly can’t duplicate.

However, for the long term, Connolly’s skill set and passion make her the right choice to bring a strong presence to the Santa Cruz courts.
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Mike Duffy
|
June 04, 2010
All I know about Steve Wright was that he was a kind hard working little league coach a few years back. He had outstanding manners and as an opposing coach I considered him the "gold standard" of coaches.

He has the education and I know from personal experience, he has the demeanor to be a fine judge, which I why he got the votes of everyone in my family.

You want to find out if someone is going to be a good judge? Have them coach a little league team for a few years. My observation is that it typically brings out the worst in us. Steve Wright was the exception to the rule.

Mike Duffy
|
June 04, 2010
All I know about Steve Wright was that he was a kind hard working little league coach a few years back. He had outstanding manners and as an opposing coach I considered him the "gold standard" of coaches.

He has the education and I know from personal experience, he has the demeanor to be a fine judge, which I why he got the votes of everyone in my family.

You want to find out if someone is going to be a My observation is that it typically brings out the worst in us. Steve Wright was the exception to the rule.
Kevin Robert
|
May 08, 2010
Our courts, like the rest of our state is suffering during this economic crisis. During the recent reorganization it was determined that the person who wins the race for Seat 10 will be assigned to a criminal court room handling a misdemeanor calendar. I am really surprised that the Banner would support fiscal irresponsibility in endorsing someone who has almost no criminal experience. Connolly has never participated in a Jury trial and the Banner is supporting putting her into a position where she will be assigned to to a position where she will be assigned to a criminal court from the start. Yes, Connolly, has shown academic success and maybe a good long term candidate for the bench. What I ask is during this economic crisis, can we wait a couple years for a Judge to get the experience that the other candidate already has. Steve Wright has the ability to hit the ground running since he has spent the last 30 years in the court system and has participated in over 200 jury trials. Rebecca Connolly self admitted that it takes Judges 3-5 years to become fully effective. Connolly may be willing to serve on the bench for the next 20 years, but fiscally we can't afford to suffer through inefficiency for the next 3 years.

Politically, Connolly has the backing of high powered officials and candidates who want "their candidate" on the bench. I personally do not want a candidate who owes politicians. There is an important reason why our branches of Government are separate. Please look closely at this race and determine who really is the best candidate.

I want the experience, the integrity, and the person who has been serving our local Community. Steve Wright has raised 5 kids in the community and cares about Santa Cruz not a career in Politics or climbing the judicial ladder. We need what is best for us NOW, not 20 years from now.



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