This paper briefly explains how superior court judges (also referred to as trial court judges) gain office in California and some of the opinions expressed in writings on how the judicial election system operates. Each of California’s 58 counties has a superior court. The legislature determines the number of judges in the courts. As explained below, judges serve their terms subject to reelection. The issue being highlighted here is retention elections and the always present – but seldom occurring – possibility of opposition. My perspective is outlined in Section III, below, based on experience and observation from 30 years of litigation practice.
The information in this paper will help provide background for the June 5 election in San Mateo County where the contest will play out for the office occupied by Judge Gerald Buchwald.
Richard W. Wilson
Candidate for Judge of the San Mateo County Superior Court
Read the Working Paper on Appointment and Election of Superior Court Judges in full.