Meet the Candidate: Phillip Ashworth for Inyo County Superior Court Judge

March 2- We are reposting these stories to help people stay informed for Tuesday’s Election, in alphabetical order. Make sure to vote!

PHILIP ASHWORTH, SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE CANDIDATE

Philip Ashworth, one of three contenders to sit on the Inyo County Superior Court
bench, could cap off an interesting life if the votes go his way March 3.
We’ll start at the beginning. While at Chico State, he worked for Disabled and the Law
providing legal information and representation in administrative hearings. He succeeded in
securing benefits for all 20 of the people he represented in hearings before the Federal
Administrative Law Judges.

As a law student, he worked for Sutherland, Gerber and Larsen, providing civil litigation
support. After he passed the Bar, he continued with Sutherland representing individuals against
government entitles, including violations of the California Environmental Quality Act. The cases
were all settled.

After working independently for a year, he moved to family lands on Oak Creek west of
the Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery and hung out his shingle in 1992. Over the next eight he
represented the Inyo County Employees Association as well as an employment group against
the Death Valley Unified School District. Those cases went to court and Ashworth’s clients
prevailed.

Then his life got really interesting. In 1998, He traveled to Micronesia, passed the Bar
and worked as the legislative counsel for the Chuuk State Legislature. His job description:
advising the two legislative bodies on legal matters, litigating on their behalf and preparing
international agreements.

He returned to California in early 2001 and was admitted to his third Court Bar, this time
the Hoopa Valley Tribal Court. Ashworth represented the Tribe in federal, state and tribal
courts for the next two years.

After taking a year off with family in Salt Lake City, he returned to the Eastern Sierra in
early 2004 working as contract administrator for the Owens Valley Career Development Center,
providing services to seven counties and administrating state and federal grants.

Ashworth’s strong suit, he said, is his cross-cultural experience and his ability to
dedicate the time and resources to the job. He noted the current Superior Court Judge, Brian
Lamb’s admonishment for failing to act in a timely manner. “I thought I would put myself out
there and give voters a choice,” he said. “This is an important job that I’m well suited for.”

Superior Court judges apply the law, but maybe the most important element of the job
is determining sentencing, especially on juveniles where that sentence can determine the rest
of that defendant’s life. So, how will Ashworth look at those particular cases?

“You may get one chance to make a correction in that juvenile’s life,” he said. “You have
to study the facts of the case. If discretion is allowed, you look at the circumstances and any
threats to public safety. You also have to look at all the resources available to help that
defendant heal.”

 

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