Superior Court judges have more power than most public officials--they can take your children away, put you in prison or decide whether you live or die. But when voters determine who gets to sit on the bench, there's good evidence they have no idea what they're doing. The only sitting judge defeated in this week's Los Angeles County election had 20 years of experience and was rated "extremely well qualified" by the County Bar. The winner, a bagel store owner who'd hardly practiced law for the past 10 years, was rated "not qualified." Her name is Lynn Olson. The losing incumbent is Dzintra Janavs. Is that what made the difference? In another district, a candidate who ran only as a veteran who was not Jewish got more than 200,000 votes. We speak with a political scientist, political consultant and a candidate about why running for judge is a crapshoot in California.
- Reporter's Notebook: Three Black Democrats to Fight for Assembly Seats
Their percentage of the population is dropping, but after November, there will be more African Americans in the State Assembly than ever before. Three blacks won nomination in safe Democratic districts, even though blacks are not a majority in any one of them. Commentator and political scientist Kerman Maddox has more.
LA Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs, League of Women Voters on
LA County Bar Association's Judicial Elections Evaluation
California Legislative Black Caucus
Sandr-- Swanson's campaign (18th Assembly District, Oakland)
Laura Richardson's campaign (55th Assembly District, Long Beach)
Wilmer Amina Carter's campaign (62nd Assembly District, San Bernardino)
Curren Price's campaign (51st Assembly District, Inglewood)
Maxine Sherard's campaign (78th District, Lemon Grove)