Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Judge McClennen's side of things (the only judge not recommended by the commission)

We are fortunate to have Judge McClennen's input regarding why he should be elected. We strongly disagree with the Judicial Performance Commission's recommendation not to retain him, as we have discussed in the post listing Superior Court judges.

Personal Statement of Judge Crane McClennen

In my legal career, I have dedicated myself to public service. Prior to becoming a judge, I served for 21 years as an Assistant Arizona Attorney General working in the Criminal Appeals Division. There I represented the State of Arizona in the state appellate courts, and the federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court.

I have been a judge for 11½ years, having been retained by the voters in 2000 and 2004. I have been on the juvenile court assignment for the last 2 years, and prior to that, I was on the criminal assignment for 6 years, the family court assignment for 2 years, and the civil assignment for 16 months. As a judge of the juvenile court, I have sought to take the necessary amount of time in each case to understand what each juvenile needs, and then do what I can to have the court system provide those services to the juvenile and the juvenile’s family. Many times at the conclusion of the case, the parents have thanked me for what I have done for their family, which I feel that is one of the most rewarding parts of this job. If any of you would like to see for yourself how I conduct myself as a judge, I invite you to come to my courtroom at any time and watch as I handle my daily calendar of cases.

In addition to the time I spend with the cases before me, I have done the following to improve the court system and to provide continuing legal education materials and opportunities to judges and attorneys in Arizona, and have received the following awards and certifications:

Awards and Certifications

· State Bar of Arizona, Outstanding Member, 1995.

· State Bar of Arizona, Outstanding Public Lawyer, 1991.

· State Bar of Arizona, Outstanding Contribution to Continuing Legal Education, 1986 & 1989.

· Founding Fellow, Arizona Bar Foundation.

· Certified Criminal Law Specialist, 1985–present.

Arizona Office of the Courts

· Instructor, New Judge Orientation, 1997–2005

Maricopa County Superior Court

· Chair, Juvenile Court Forms Committee, 2007–present.

· Chair, Juvenile Court New Judge Rotation Training, 2007.

· Chair, Committee To Draft Criminal Department Minute Entry Forms, 2001–2002.

· Chair, Committee To Draft Family Court Rules of Procedure, Maricopa County, 1988–2000.

Continuing Legal Education

· Chair & Speaker, Criminal Year Seminar, 1991–2008

· Chair & Speaker, Year in Evidence Seminar, 1987–2008

Books and Publications:

· Arizona Legal Forms, Criminal Procedure (2005)

· Arizona Courtroom Evidence Manual (3rd Ed. 1997).

· (Co-author) Chapter 4, Criminal Appeals, and Chapter 24, Justice Court Appeals,

Arizona Appellate Handbook (1992).

· Frye, Daubert, and Logerquist: Is Arizona Moving Ahead or Going in Circles? 34 Ariz. St. L.J. 571.

· Custody Under Miranda v. Arizona: Is Arizona Using the Wrong Focus? Arizona Attorney (7/00).

· Rule 404(B) and 404(C): New Definitions; New Tests; and New Rules, Arizona Attorney (6/98).

· Eliminating Appeals From Guilty Pleas: Making the Process More Efficient, Arizona Attorney (11/92).

· Capital Punishment in Arizona: Past, Present, and Future, Arizona Attorney (10/92).

· Admission of Evidence of Other Crimes, Wrongs, or Acts, Arizona Attorney (6/90).

· Impeachment and Rehabilitation of Witness Under Arizona Rules of Evidence, Ariz. Bar J. (6/83).

· Death Penalty Debated, Maricopa Lawyer (4/82).

· Arizona Divorce Law: Time for a Better System, 1970 Law and the Social Order 641.

In the Judicial Performance Review survey, I feel honored to receive high marks from the litigants and witnesses, including a 100% rating for Integrity. Although not reported in this Voter Guide, the Commission did survey Court Staff, and from them I received ratings of 100% for Integrity, 88% for judicial temperament, and 85% for Administrative Performance. It is now, and has always been, my belief that I should seek to improve the court system, and most importantly, serve the litigants and witnesses who appear before me. I have done so for the litigants and witnesses who came before me in the past, and I ask you to retain me in office so that I can continue to do so for litigants and witnesses in the future.

Judge Crane McClennen

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Due to threats, GOP forced to remove its name from this blog

Due to threats from the spouse of a judge who would actually attempt to have county GOP leadership and LD4 GOP leadership removed from their positions in order to suppress free speech about their spouse, we are removing their names as sponsors and contributors to this blog and Lighthouse Blog will continue to shine the light on the judges!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The inside scoop on the only judge the Judicial Performance Review Commission did not recommend for retention

We've got the full story - and we've upped our ranking of Judge McClennan to a 9. Figures the one judge the Commission would try to remove would be the smartest judge on the bench, which tilts their decisions toward conservatives.

We've also updated info on a few more Superior Court judges, including Judge Keppel.

Read the updated info on both judges in the Superior Court judge section.

AZ Bar magazine features article on judicial retention

Was quite amused to see the front page cover of Arizona Attorney magazine this month, "Judicial Retention: The Verdict after 30 Years." To its credit, the article admits that it is virtually impossible to vote a judge out under a retention election system, and the Judicial Performance Review Commission rubberstamps every judge - in 2006, the last year recorded, all 64 judges up for retention received an average mean score of 99.6%! Not a single judge scored below 75. Judges only need a 50% approval vote among those who cast votes in their race in order to be retained.

The JPR Commission used to rate more judges poorly, back when judges were elected, not appointed like they are now. That was because the Commission actually knew more about the judges, based on their campaigns for office - the judges had opponents who could do opposition research on them and get it out publicly. Now the Commission knows very little about the judges when they come up for retention.

This article reinforces our opinion - as well as most conservatives' opinions - that the reviews provided by the Commission aren't worth your time reading.

In the future, until we move to a system of electing judges or at least requiring legislative confirmation, we recommend that the Voter Information Pamphlets include links to websites like this which provide reviews of the judges - not just the JPR Commission's fluff review.

We find it amusing that AZ Attorney didn't even bother mentioning this website. Even though AZ Judges Review is the only website in Arizona comprehensively reviewing the judges, and even though AZ Attorney's own article acknowledges the JPR Commission's review is worthless since judges receiving 99.6% scores, and even though it's pretty obvious to us the reason the AZ Bar decided to run a piece on judicial retention is because of the stir this website is creating (we're well over 1000 unique visitors per day thanks to J.D. Hayworth), the AZ bar is so biased they refuse to provide information to educate voters if it goes against their politically correct agenda.

(the AZ Attorney article will be available shortly here)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Liberal blog rates the judges

Thanks to the far left liberal blog Netroots for rating the judges, providing us with more input on who to vote for - so we can do precisely the opposite of what they recommend. We've incorporated their information, as noted, into our guide.

Stay tuned - we're supposed to be getting information any day now about the judges' illegal immigration decisions. We're also going to see if we can figure out how to make a printable sheet of just the judges on the ballot.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Information on retention of judges

We have been asked about how difficult it will be to oust a judge from office through a retention election. A judge simply needs to receive a majority of yes votes cast in his/her race in order to be retained. According to the AZ Commission on Judicial Performance Review, there would need to be a 127,500 vote difference (127,500 voters who vote yes for the average judge would need to change their vote to no).

For an excellent summary of the problem with retention elections, see the Center for Arizona Policy's analysis. Also, the website targeted two judges in 2004, but had little success, swaying only 23,000 votes. Unfortunately it was not launched until after early ballots had gone out in the mail. This website was launched prior to that, although we haven't fully obtained all of the information we'd like to provide, the attorneys we talk to are terrified of the Arizona State Bar investigating them if they criticize judges.

Look at the criteria used by the commission to rate judges. It's incredulous that there is nothing about judicial philosophy or judicial activism, the most important issues to most voters. (this link goes to the commission's review of Judge Crane McClennan, the only judge they chose not to recommend retaining). They may as well rate a judge's "friendliness" and "personal hygiene," those shallow criteria could be slipped into the list without anyone noticing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Does anyone have any information on judges outside of Maricopa County?

We've been getting numerous requests for information on judges outside of Maricopa County. If you have any knowledge of their political views/rulings, please email us at

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Maricopa County Superior Court judges has been updated significantly

We're almost done, just a few more updates within the next day or two.