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Judge-elect ready to start

Public Defender Tom Anderson had two reasons to celebrate Wednesday: It was his 56th birthday and his first day as a judge-elect for Nevada County Superior Court.

In a close race, Anderson beat out his opponent Tuesday with 57 percent of Nevada County’s vote. He’ll take the judges’ bench in January.

“I’m pleased by the margin of victory,” Anderson said Wednesday.



In a courthouse hallway, Anderson was inundated by a constant flow of congratulatory hugs and handshakes from court clerks, attorneys, secretaries and fellow judges.

“I’m so glad you won,” said one woman as she gave him a bear hug in the hall.




“Good for you,” said a Nevada County Sheriff’s deputy, shaking his hand.

Later, interrupted periodically by calls from his family in the quiet of the court library, he briefly outlined his intentions as judge.

“I plan to meet with all the judges, courtroom staff, the bar association, prosecutors, defense attorneys and law enforcement to discuss mutual expectations,” he said. “I plan to do the best job I can.”

He said an employee in his Public Defender’s office, attorney Richard Wilcox, will temporarily take over the responsibilities of the county Public Defender.

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors and County Executive Officer Rick Haffey ultimately will decide who will take Anderson’s place before he takes the bench.

“Richard (Wilcox) is more than capable of doing the job,” Anderson said.

Anderson defended himself against criticism by some local law enforcement officers that he may not be as tough on crime as his opponent Ray Shine would have been.

“It’s a stereotypical expectation of public defenders because they are defense attorneys,” he said.

“A lot of law enforcement supported me in my campaign. By the way, my opponent’s only experience with criminal cases was as a defense attorney.”

He reiterated his campaign platform, saying he plans to be fair and to follow the law as it is written.

“I plan to be responsive to law enforcement and respectful of citizens,” he said. “Fair and impartial.”

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To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail robynm@theunion.com or call 477-4236.


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