Three lawyers, including the incumbent judge, now run for the Inyo Superior Court Judge spot. They shared their personal judicial philosophies with a large audience Monday night at the Independence Civic Club Candidates' Forum.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Johnson leaned on the non-discrimination idea of equal justice for all. "Whether you're a homeless man or Dave McCoy – rich or poor, man or woman." Johnson said while Justice is blind, it is not stupid. Past behaviors have to come into play in the courtroom. He also urged an efficiently run court that is on time.
Attorney Tom Hardy said the fairness factor should be a given. "What a judge does," said Hardy, is "take the law and apply it to the facts of a case." A judge applies the law fairly and consistently and moves on." Hardy also called for an organized and timely court.
Judge Brian Lamb said that it's important for a judge to listen to those who appear before him and give their views a serious hearing. "My job is a service job," said Lamb. He added that when he sits as a judge he is not conscious of the power he has but of the weight of the responsibility he has to try to make sure he's hearing what they are trying to say and make a decision accordingly.
After the forum, I asked candidate Mark Johnson about his criticism of the court – lacking efficiency. Presiding Judge Dean Stout controls the court and criminal cases not his opponent, Judge Lamb. Johnson then said that "historically, there is a laid back way of running the courts in Inyo."
The judge candidates and supervisorial candidates will appear for League of Women Voter forums Thursday at the Big Pine Town Hall at 6:30pm and next Tuesday, May 13th at the Bishop Senior Center.