OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Recall election’

Judge M. Marc Kelly – Let the Voters Render Their Verdict!

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on April 12, 2015

In California State Court trial judges must stand for election every six years. Whenever judges appear on the ballot I have a vast number of friends ask me which judges to vote for and which judges to vote against. Even lawyers like myself don’t always know a judge’s record on the trial court bench since their decisions are not often printed in the newspaper or on legal search engines like Lexus or West Law.  Thus it makes it hard to evaluate if the judge’s record is good or not.

I am much more likely to give a judge my vote on re-election even if I don’t agree with all of their decisions.  Being a judge is not an easy task and they work very hard to be fair to all sides in the cases before them.  They also have to handle far more cases than each of them should have too due to severe budget constraints imposed by Sacramento and limits on the number of judicial appointments which often lag far, far behind the actual need.  Plus keep in mind that the reason a case is in front of the judge in the first place is at least two parties are in disagreement and the judge (and often a jury) is called upon to decide between them.  That often means someone is a winner and the other party is the loser.  This is the judge’s job: to preside over a conflicted situation that he or she did not create.  But it is their job to make the tough decisions each day.  For these reasons I admire judges for the often difficult work they do.

However there are exceptions to this general rule and the recent sentencing of a confessed child rapist by Judge M. Marc Kelly is one of those examples.  I do not know if Judge Kelly found the rapist guilty of his crime, if a jury did that or if the rapist confessed and plead guilty, but it is the judge who decides the sentence for the convicted criminal to serve.  It is the sentence, handed down by Judge Kelly, of this rapist of a three year old to only 10 years in prison rather than 25 years to life that shocks people in our community (and apparently the nation).

The Orange County Register has been following this situation and has published its own editorial calling for Judge Kelly to resign or be recalled. Here is the link to that editorial: Time to Leave the Bench.  This follows Supervisors Todd Spitzer, Lisa Bartlett and Shawn Nelson calling on the judge to resign or be recalled.

I think the Supervisors are right to call for a recall for this simple reason:  Rather than wait until Judge Kelly would normally stand for re-election, let him now, while the issue is very much before the people via the news media, explain to the voters who are tasked with electing or re-electing him, why this sentence was legal and proper.  Then let the voters render their verdict!

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