Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ex-cop wants to run local family court

California's Santa Cruz county is electing a new judge. Usually there is an incumbent running unopposed or with token opposition. Next month's election will fill a vacancy.

The rumor is that all the regular judges in the county hate the family court. They like putting gang members in jail, or evicting tenants, or even putting kids in foster care, but they hate family court where they have to listen to lying parents and then micromanage their lives.

A local free weekly reports on one of the three candidates:
Philip Crawford's law career varies from the traditional track, which he says would bring a different and he believes welcome perspective to the bench. The four-decade Santa Cruz resident started as a police officer in San Jose. He then went back to school to earn his law degree and taught law for a number of years.

He also served as a court administrator in Contra Costa County, helping to oversee other attorneys and track legal decisions in family law.

If elected, Crawford would ask to use that background as the designated judge for the family court. The practice in Santa Cruz County has been for judges to alternate assignments, but he would relish the chance to provide a stable presence.

"Nothing changes more often than family law. People rotating in and out is not good for kids and families," said Crawford, who believes that the county's other Superior Court judges would welcome the chance to avoid what can be an unpopular assignment.

"That's where my primary interest is," he said.
If he is elected, then he could get all the county family court cases for years to come.

The article says the local lawyers are pushing for Gallagher, a public defender. The third candidate is a prosecutor, and most of these judges are ex-prosecutors.

The lawyers in town probably like public defenders better than prosecutors and cops, so their preference does not mean much.

Does anyone know anything useful about these guys? I'd like to be an informed voter, but I don't have much to go on. I am suspicious of anyone who wants to run other peoples' lives. But maybe Crawford has some experience making domestic violence arrests, and would be an improvement.

Update: Crawford's web site is at He believes that the family courts use too much voodoo psychobabble. I am convinced!


Anonymous said...

Anyone who relishes the chance to micromanage another persons life is not suited to the post. The fact that he is excited about the prospect should serve as proof positive that he is the wrong man for the job - point of fact the only person who would be right would be someone who thinks the post of "family" court judge should be abolished and every single sitting judge publicly executed.

This is a cop who liked the rush of power and now wants to take it to the next level. He will almost certainly adopt a make it up as he goes along approach to family law as it changes so frequently (his own words). Why does it change so frequently? Not due to legislation but due to activist judges substituting their personal opinion for law thus establishing precedents. He wants to be a part of this - oh joy.

Maybe he is a fathers rights guy (I doubt this) but that would just mean we would have evil working for us rather than against us. This is STILL evil however and it would be better to simply liquidate the entire system in the most expedient way possible.

George said...

I agree with most of what you say, but public execution of judges is not an option.

It seems to me that a new guy could not be any worse than the jerks we've got. But then I have thought that before, and then watched it get worse.

Anonymous said...

Personally I'd settle for having all 1.2M or so lawyers and judges in this country stranded on a small desert island with no way of getting off it. Then we can put the social workers and psychologists on a different one.....

My main concern with this guy is he seems to have some socio-legal agenda. And when you couple that with his being heavily tied into the Santa Cruz community you can safely assume it's going to be a very intrusive and self-righteous approach to dealing with family law. Worse than what's been in the courts already? Yes, perhaps, because he wants to be the permanent judge for family law. I'm very suspicious and sceptical of this guy and will NOT be voting for him. I too agree with most of the first poster's hunches, seems to make sense here.

Anonymous said...

I'll ask a couple of family law attorneys I know in Sata Clara County what they think of him & give youi some feedback.

George said...

I appreciate it. I will post whatever you send me. I am currently inclined to vote for the guy.