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In February we endorsed William Priest for Santa Clara County Superior Court’s seat 9. Priest, however, did not make the runoff, so we now must decide between Deputy DA George Chadwick and criminal defense attorney Arthur Bocanegra. Chadwick has a lot of good ideas, not the least of which is forsaking fund-raising for his judicial campaign. He strikes us as a thoughtful individual with some useful experience managing complex litigation at what was then Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro before he became a deputy DA. We noted in the spring, however, something troubling about Chadwick’s temperament. He is extraordinarily intense, speaking in a rapid-fire delivery that seems capable of steamrolling people. Those concerns have intensified with recent revelations about his acrimonious divorce, which has caused some of his early supporters to start touting Bocanegra. Of course, divorce can bring out the worst in any person’s temperament. But then again, so can judging. Bocanegra, a Santa Clara solo, has impressed us with his demeanor. When asked a challenging question during a candidates’ forum earlier this year, Bocanegra did a good job of using his sense of humor to defuse it. He has maintained an air of calmness and dignity throughout the campaign. Bocanegra has not articulated much of a vision for his role as a judge, other than to say he has experience and he would work hard. But he seems a safer choice than Chadwick, and his selection would add to the number of Latinos on the bench. We endorse Bocanegra for seat 9. We are maintaining our original endorsements from this spring in the other Bay Area judicial races that we have covered. For Santa Clara County’s seat 16, we endorse Deputy DA Aaron Persky, who impresses us as smart, thoughtful and willing to question his own judgments — all good qualities for a judge. Deputy DA Ron Del Pozzo boasts the most trial experience, but he has little civil experience and has offered few creative ideas for improving court administration. In San Francisco, we endorse Deputy City Attorney Sean Connolly in a close contest. We like solo practitioner Gail Dekreon’s unflappable demeanor and forthright style, but Connolly holds a substantial edge in experience trying heavy-duty civil and criminal cases. In Contra Costa County, we are endorsing civil litigator Cheryl Mills for superior court. Mills has substantial experience managing people and complex civil litigation. Court Commissioner Joel Golub has nearly a decade’s experience as a judicial officer, but we don’t sense a strong vision for improving the court system, as we do with Mills. We also believe that his disingenuous — if not outright untruthful — response to a question this week at a candidate forum calls his character into question. In Alameda County we endorse Court Commissioner Trina Thompson Stanley, who has impressed us with her easygoing demeanor and solid reputation as a court commissioner. Her opponent, former State Bar Court Presiding Judge Lise Pearlman, will appear on the ballot but has suspended her campaign. We acknowledge that there is an inevitable element of subjectivity in any endorsement, and that reasonable minds may differ. For readers who prefer to choose independently, transcripts of candidate profiles, interviews and forums can be found on law.com/ca’s 2002 Election Coverage page.

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