New Superior Court judges to take office

By Ryann Grochowski | inewsource

San Diego’s three newest Superior Court judges will be sworn in today after a memorable campaign season.

Private-practice attorney Gary Kreep won his seat in the June primary, after defeating prosecutor Garland Peed by less than 2,000 votes. The race gained national attention — not only for the candidates’ unusual names, but for Kreep’s public declaration that he had “sincere doubts” that President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen.

Kreep was also rated as “lacking qualifications” by the San Diego County Bar Association, and the “who’s who” of the county legal community reeled from the fact that he made it through.

Kreep’s win upped the stakes for the remaining race — longtime prosecutor Bob Amador versus private-practicing attorney Jim Miller Jr. Like the Peed-Kreep race, the candidates were rated at each end of the spectrum by the bar: Amador was rated “well qualified” and Miller as “lacking qualifications.”

Many lawyers and retired judges vowed not to let another unqualified candidate win again. The race — unusually heated for a judicial seat — sparked a lawsuit over ballot language and even Facebook and illegal immigration played a role.

In the end, Amador defeated Miller by more than 16,000 votes.

Prosecutor David Berry, who won a judgeship in the June primary against court commissioner Terrie Roberts, will also take the oath of office today at the courthouse.

The judges start work on Tuesday. Joining them is Judge Paula Rosenstein, who Gov. Jerry Brown appointed to fill a vacancy in November.

New judges rotate through assignments, but Kreep will initially start in misdemeanors, Berry in criminal court, and Amador and Rosenstein in family court.

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