Wednesday’s investiture of two district judges smells of suspicious timing. There was no other time except in the midst of early voting, when both judges will be on the ballot?
I’d propose a news media blackout, but the event was held today.
While the timing looks nefarious, District Court spokesman Mary Ann Price insisted today it is not some attempt to get free media attention for District Judges Kerry Earley and Adriana Escobar.
Sandoval named both women to the bench on June 26. Earley was sworn in July 30 and Escobar on Aug. 6.
Yet the investiture is Oct. 24.
Price insisted that the investiture is designed for the judges and their families and the date was not meant to gain them a political advantage, it was to accommodate schedules and conflicts.
But Tuesday’s press release about it raised red flags to me. Were government resources being used to promote campaigns?
The cost of a reception is paid by the judges themselves, Price said. The events routinely draw judges at every level, including federal, state and local. Usually, they don’t get much media coverage, maybe a photo in the newspaper or a TV station or two might shoot some footage.
There’s no guarantee the two will win their elections, so waiting until after the election might create a bittersweet investiture since they might be off the bench in January.
And future schedulers might want to think about the perception of impropriety.
Meanwhile, the fact these two judges are appointed for such short time periods to fill the jobs of judges who quit before the end of their terms – I’m talking about retired Judges Kathy Hardcastle and Donald Mosley – is just one more reason judges should complete their obligations to serve entire terms.
That’s another of my peeves. And I have so many.