Lengthy judge race is costly
With the general election less than a week away, judge candidates Ray Shine and Tom Anderson are in the final stretch of a doubly grueling campaign.
Both emerged from the primary after months of campaigning in a six-way race in the spring, only to launch into another round of costly politicking during the summer.
Anderson, a public defender who pulled slightly ahead of Shine in the primary, said he is spending more heavily in this phase of the campaign. In the primary, he spent $20,720 through May 20, according to county campaign finance documents. For the general election, he spent $49,254 by Oct. 21.
“The campaign is going very well,” said Anderson, 55. “I have met a lot of people – a broad spectrum of the community. I have had the opportunity to talk (to them) about my qualifications for the job. It was a very positive experience for me.”
Shine, a general lawyer in private practice in Grass Valley, spent heavily in the primary – $74,205 by May 20. But that investment has allowed him to slow spending in the general, spending $55,392 by Oct. 21, according to campaign finance records.
“Everybody I talk to says I’m going to win,” Shine said. “But it will only go well if everybody votes.”
The two men are hoping to replace Judge Carl F. Bryan II, who will retire at the end of this year from his seat on the Nevada County Superior Court.
Alternative courts debated
The two candidates disagree in their approach to the alternative courts, a relatively new approach to crime which handle cases involving drug offenders, offenders with mental health problems, some civil matters and teens charged with crimes.
Throughout his campaign, Anderson has supported the alternative court programs such as the one started as a result of Proposition 36, a voter initiative that puts drug offenders into rehabilitation instead of jail.
“It costs $50,000 a year to house someone in prison,” he said. “That’s $250,000 for five years behind bars, while the average prison term is more than five years. … Rehabilitation costs less than $15,000 a year.”
Anderson also said it is important for the courts to determine the difference between a criminal who uses drugs and an addict who commits crimes to feed his addiction.
Shine has taken a tough stance on crime and has been critical of Prop. 36.
“With Prop. 36, an offender has to fail a drug test five times before a judge can send him to jail,” Shine said. He said judges should have more discretion in cases where offenders are not serious about rehabilitation.
“When I talk to rehab experts, they say, ‘Of all the people in rehab, a third are serious,'” Shine said. “The other two-thirds are playing a game.”
However, most people winding their way through the court’s criminal system go through the traditional process, Anderson said.
Staff Writer Soumitro Sen and City Editor Trina Kleist contributed to this story. To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4236.
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