Two letters recently appeared in the local press regarding the election for Judge of the Yolo Superior Court. I’d like to briefly “correct the record.”
One letter made the comment that Yolo Superior Court Commissioner Janene Beronio is an “inactive” member of the California State Bar while the other three candidates – all lawyers – are “active” members of the State Bar. The letter writer implied that this was a bad thing since “inactive” members are not subject to the mandatory continuing legal education requirements of the State Bar. But this is hardly a revelation. The fact is that Judges and Commissioners in California are “inactive” members of the State Bar. When a person becomes a Judge or Commissioner, that person is (obviously) prohibited from practicing law. And all Judges and Commissioners are subject to rather stringent continuing judicial education requirements.
The second letter took issue with the fact that all the active Judges of Yolo County had their photo taken in their robes for a campaign brochure in support of Commissioner Beronio. The writer found this “reprehensible”. The fact is that they ALL had their photo taken, because they ALL support Beronio, as do all the retired Judges in Yolo County. While Federal Judges do not have to run for election, California State Judges do have to stand for election. Judges do not participate in political election campaigns. They must remain neutral in such political contests. There is a exception in the law, however, which permits Judges to fully and actively participate in judicial election campaigns. It would be terribly unfair if they were required to run in elections to judicial office, but were prohibited from campaigning. In fact, Judges have an ethical obligation to speak about the judicial system and to comment on the administration of justice. Further, numerous ethics opinions have determined that Judges may be pictured in their robes during campaigns, in part because the law requires them to wear those robes.
Superior Court Judge
I wanted to write to you regarding my unwavering support for Dan Wolk’s bid for the State Assembly. Dan Wolk is an enthusiastic, driven candidate–exemplified by his good and thoughtful beliefs and hard work.
As a Davis Councilmember and Solano County Attorney, Dan Wolk led efforts to make our long-term water supply more reliable and pushed for greater investments in roads and renewable energy. In the Assembly, he’ll reinvest in our crumbling roads, bridges and levees. Additionally, Dan Wolk has worked to foster economic development as Davis City Councilman, and in the Assembly, he will do the same by investing in job training, clean energy projects, and small business incubators to build our economy and create jobs.
Dan is experienced and ready to lead in our region. He is the right choice to represent our district in the state of California at large.
Elise N. Weinberg, J.D.
UC Davis School of Law