Judicial candidate bios and Q&A
Current City: Nevada City
Hometown: Mammoth Lakes
Occupation: Assistant District Attorney
Education: BA from UCSB in 1990 with high honors; J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1993 with honors
Political: Even though this is a matter of public record, I cannot comment on political affiliation as it is prohibited by judicial campaign ethical rules
Family: Fiancé Jeff works as patrol corporal for Sheriff Royal. Parents live locally.
Robert (“Rob”) Tice-Raskin
Current City: Lake of the Pines
Hometown: Palos Verdes Estates
Occupation: Supervisory Federal Prosecutor (Chief, White Collar Crime Unit, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California)
Education: Harvard Law School, J.D., 1989; Dartmouth College, B.A. in Government, 1985
Political: No party preference, non-partisan
Family: Married to Sandi (a local pediatrician), five children: Christopher (14), Aidan (12), Andrew (9), Parker (6) and Addison (6)
1. What are the specific challenges faced by Nevada County courts? How can court procedures and efficiency be improved locally?
Ferguson: The biggest challenges faced by our local court system include the outdated court building and lack of parking. The outdated structure poses a host of safety concerns, lacks accessibility for the disabled and has an inefficient design. A study is under way to assess the cost of construction, but the state is unlikely to approve funding. Improved parking could be addressed if the building were renovated or redone. In the meanwhile, we need to put more effort in seeking solutions to juror parking and access for the disabled particularly.
Tice-Raskin: The biggest challenges are first, insufficient funding from the state. Second, our courthouse must be renovated or replaced. And last, there is insufficient funding of key justice partners — the District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office and Probation Office. The county should restore full resources to the Family Law Facilitator and Public Law Center, and expand the court’s Civil Mediation Project. And we should consider expansion of the problem-solving collaborative courts including full implementation of a homeless court, and potential adoption of reentry courts (for individuals who have violated their terms of community supervision), veterans’ and elder abuse courts.
2. Do all citizens in the county have adequate access to the legal system? What can be done to improve the situation?
Ferguson: All citizens do not have adequate access to the legal system locally for several reasons. One, the disabled have challenges just using the existing court structure. It lacks ADA features like easy access ramps and wide enough doorways. Local geography makes transportation to court from remote areas of the county an issue. We need reliable public transportation available at times calculated to allow residents to arrive to court timely, to comply with court orders and to respond to jury summons.
Tice-Raskin: There are many individuals who lack the means to pay for needed legal representation by a qualified attorney. We need to expand the operating hours of our Public Law Center and a Family Law Facilitator, which assist self-represented parties. We need to expand the availability and use of alternative dispute resolution (such as mediation, arbitration). We need to continue to fully support our small claims court process. We need to inspire and recruit members of our local bar, members of the bar from other communities, and students from regional law schools, to provide pro bono legal services to members of our community in need.
3. Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, wishing you had handled a case differently?
Ferguson: As a trial attorney, I often wake up in the middle of the night with thoughts about tasks that need to be done on my files or strategies that I want to consider more fully. It is my duty as a prosecutor to seek justice on every case. I have reached a stage in my career where I trust my judgment and the decisions I must make. However, justice leaves many victims in its wake. I cannot heal crime victims with physical or emotional injuries or make their losses whole. I cannot bring back loved ones who have paid the ultimate price. I cannot make family members of defendants suffer less, either. These are not issues I can resolve by any decision I make on a case, but these consequences certainly touch me deeply.
Tice-Raskin: I wake up in the middle of the night, from time to time, but for a different reason: Because I am thinking intensely about my current cases, as opposed to my previous ones. As a federal prosecutor, and as a judge pro tem, I am regularly called upon to make difficult decisions — decisions that have very significant consequences for litigants, victims, and the public at large. My obligation is always the same: To ensure justice according to the law. I take this obligation seriously in every case. Indeed, in some cases, I will spend hours, day and night, trying to carefully analyze the case, trying to determine what is truly just and fair, and re-examining my analysis to make sure that I have made the right decision.
Editor’s note: Tice-Raskin’s answers were substantially edited for brevity; for the complete response, got to http://www.ticeraskinforjudge.com.
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