In a rare election process, four attorneys are running to replace a retiring San Joaquin County Superior Court judge.
Judges are typically appointed by the governor, but Judge John W. Parker did not announce his retirement in time for the appointment process, so it goes to the public on the June ballot. If nobody wins a majority of the vote, it will go to a run-off in November's general election.
David E. Drivon is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father, Laurence Drivon, who was a San Joaquin County judge.
Drivon has been practicing law for 16 years, working as a prosecutor for seven of those years and then going into private practice with his family's law firm. More recently, he has represented victims in clergy sexual abuses cases, as well as handle complex civil litigation.
He has been endorsed by several local judges, prosecutors, Sheriff's deputies and the Police Officers Association of Lodi.
"I was born and raised in Stockton; I want to use my talent and career to benefit the community," Drivon said, adding that his experience in both criminal and civil work would make the transition to judgeship faster.
As a judge, he would like to see the courthouse run more efficiently, with fewer delays in criminal cases. He would also like to get judges to work together on speeding up cases, which in turn would make attorneys move more quickly.
His campaign Web site is at drivonforjudge.com.
James M. Morris has practiced as an attorney for 37 years and has also served the county court, as a judge pro tem and court-appointed arbitrator.
He focuses on agricultural and complex business litigation and is active in a juvenile diabetes research foundation, the Children's Museum of Stockton, Temple Israel and the Stockton Symphony Association.
Morris is endorsed by nearly all current San Joaquin County judges, as well as council members of several cities and peace officer associations from the Sheriff's Office and the Stockton, Delta College and Manteca police departments.
"I believe I know the community and I certainly know the law," Morris said. "I can apply those to any aspect of the judiciary to which I've been assigned."
He'd like to see a faster court process, but noted that one judge can't change the entire system. If elected, Morris said, he would offer his experience to help fellow judges in all areas, regardless of whether he was appointed to criminal, civil or juvenile justice.
His Web site is at electjamesmorris.com.
Frank Pacheco has been practicing law since 1992, focusing on criminal defense work as well as family, civil rights and aviation law.
He previously served in Vietnam with the U.S. Marine Corps and studied electrical engineering in college. He has been involved with several church choirs, theater productions and is a private pilot.
Pacheco was born and raised in San Joaquin County and said his independence, fairness, compassion and firmness qualify him to be judge.
If elected, he would "protect the liberties we have, protect the independence of the judiciary, uphold and enforce the law, protect and defend the United States and State Constitutions," Pacheco said by e-mail.
Pacheco did not seek endorsements.
His Web site is at votepachecojudge.fscorpio.wsnw.net.
Phil Urie has spent the last 22 years as a San Joaquin County prosecutor and previously spent seven years in the U.S. Army.
He has prosecuted a number of medical marijuana cases and teaches business and income tax law, asset forfeiture, civil procedure and constitutional ethics.
Urie is endorsed by the county's Republican Central Committee.
In the criminal aspect of the judicial system, Urie has seen cases drag on for years at a time, and would like to see judges make concessions to speed things up. For instance, he said, cases would move faster if a few judges were assigned to handle preliminary hearings - but judges would rather handle different aspects of the case, including trials, he said.
"There are a lot of inefficiencies in the court," Urie said. "My opinion, being there almost every day, is that the judges are often working at cross purposes; they're not working together."
His Web site is at philurie.org.