Candidate Statement for the Bar Association

I am seeking this office to fulfill an ultimate goal to serve as a superior court judge, coming off years at the University of California (UC) and Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts (JCC/AOC) overseeing litigation around the state. I want to promote awareness and discussion of issues, and help effect positive change at the court. There are times when change is appropriate and healthy. I believe that stepping up — as I am doing — can help constructively accomplish that. My experience in private practice and in public employment, and the roles I have served, provide clear pictures of good and poor in judicial performance and court services. They also give me a passion for process improvement, efficiency, and consistent quality that I will bring to our court.

This election is nonpartisan and I embrace that classification. For this and other reasons, I am not seeking political endorsements or special interest support. My sense is these are out of place in this race for judicial office. I think it is healthy, however, to talk about issues. I would be pleased to hear about issues that are important to you, your area of practice, and the community.

In running, I am pointing out a systemic issue. Superior court judges serve six-year terms by Constitutional design in California and continue in office by retention elections. In practice, most never really face the electorate. They are appointed and, when their term is ending, are unopposed and their names do not appear on a ballot. The system we have favors this pattern of unopposed incumbency. Judges get accustomed to this and continue on, sometimes too long. Voters get no information and remain largely uninformed without any contested election. If you haven’t seen it, please read the working paper I wrote about this, posted at our website,

My background is on the website and also my LinkedIn profile at Briefly stated, my wife, Marie, and I have lived in San Carlos for 30 years and raised our children here. Marie is an attorney, making her career in-house at technology companies on the Peninsula. We love the dynamic quality and diversity of San Mateo County and have lived it as a multiracial family. As a partner at Hassard Bonnington in San Francisco, I litigated and tried cases throughout Northern California including San Mateo County. I left the firm to work for the JCC/AOC to help implement a new litigation management program for the court system. This was successfully established. I was then hired by the UC for a systemwide role overseeing a large litigation program. These positions brought me to courtrooms, mediation offices, and proceedings in countless cases around the state.

I aim to apply this experience and the perspectives and skills it provides to this office as judge and to the court to help with the services the court provides. I ask for your support and vote.

Richard W. Wilson

Candidate for Judge of the Superior Court

Candidate Statement for SMCBA

500 word limit by rule

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