Judges seeking elective office have to campaign a little bit. Otherwise, nobody can form enough of an impression of their characters to confidently make a choice. They are limited, however, in a way other office-seekers are not: They can't express political opinions or make observations about historical cases that would give voters a chance to see how they might make decisions. To do so might reveal bias.
For us, there's not much to go on when you get to the voting booth. I liked both Ben McLaughlin and Steven Steward when I heard them at the Mattole Grange.
But I will vote for Ben. He exudes a kind and quiet thoughtfulness, a tranquility, which I believe will help to calm and reassure all the anxious minds inhabiting a courtroom. This vibe will reach defendants, victims and court personnel, and justice will be well served.
Ellen Taylor, Petrolia
RE: Experience. Ben McLaughlin cites 23 years as an attorney, including seven years as a prosecutor and six as a Public Defender, recounts over 100 trials, mostly serious felonies, and his impressive record of achievement in court. McLaughlin has earned the respect of opposing attorneys because he has always been fair to all parties before the bench.
McLaughlin's opponent, lacking comparable courtroom experience, says he is qualified because he "will be" a good judge, "will be fair," goes on to say what honorable qualities he will "exemplify;" lamentably, political rhetoric asking us to trust him.
Big difference. Ben McLaughlin has the necessary experience to run a courtroom now — a proven record of maturity, fairness, integrity and excellence.
McLaughlin's thinking is complex, thoughtful and respectful. He has a demonstrated command of the law needed in our next judge.
Michael Evenson, Petrolia
For over 15 years, I've had the pleasure of knowing and working with Ben McLaughlin as a police officer and criminal defense investigator. Ben works vigorously for everyone. I've observed Ben's expertise and work ethic.
People are safer in this community because of his time in prosecution. As a defense attorney, Ben obtained fair outcomes for clients ensuring the process was fair and based on facts. I've watched him putting in the long hours to make sure each defendant, survivor and witness was represented competently.
When I asked if there was a "famous" quote that may shed light on his judicial philosophy, he replied, "We apply law to facts. We don't apply feelings to facts," Justice Sotomayor.
Ben will apply the law to the facts and I know he will apply the law with equity, insight, intelligence and fairness.
Adam Laird, Arcata
I retired from law enforcement having worked 13 years as a district attorney investigator. I worked very closely with Ben McLaughlin on many complex felony trials. Ben has the experience, knowledge and personality to be an excellent superior court judge.
Ben will be a law-and-order judge but with the compassion and respect for the essential dignity of all persons. Ben has a vast amount of experience as a prosecutor, a public defender and is the only candidate who has experience in handling civil cases.
This is not a position for on-the-job training, but it is a position that requires a person to make correct decisions the first day on the bench. Ben is that person and I ask that you join me and dozens of police officers both current and retired to vote for Ben McLaughlin for Superior Court Judge of Humboldt County.
Mike Losey, Fortuna