Monday, June 25 , 2018, 7:32 am | Overcast 62º


Local News

Succession Plan for Judge McLafferty Undecided

The Superior Court position could be filled by an election or gubernatorial appointment

A replacement for Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge William McLafferty, who died Friday after complications from a December lung surgery, could be decided by an election or gubernatorial appointment, trial courts executive officer Gary Blair said.

McLafferty, who was 70 when he died, presided over criminal and civil cases for 12 years and was planning to run for re-election to a third six-year term this June.

The candidacy announcement period is in early February, but it’s highly unusual for anyone to oppose an incumbent, Blair said.

“No one challenges an incumbent in good standing,” he said. “No one in their right mind.”

According to staff, the county elections office is still looking into whether the position will be filled by an election or appointment, as McLafferty was expected to come back to work fairly soon.

Retired local judge Rick Brown has been sitting in on a daily basis since the beginning of January and will continue to fill in until January 2011, when the new judge will take his or her seat on the bench.

If it comes to an election, it’ll be a wide-open race, Blair said.

“We may see people emerge from the woodwork,” he said.

The position could appear on the June ballot, and if it comes down to a runoff during that election, it will go to November’s general election. The in-lieu petition period — during which candidates can reduce the filing fee 25 cents per registered voter signature — already has begun for the June election, Blair said.

Trial court judges have six-year terms and open elections, while appellate court judges get 12-year terms and retention votes (yes or no). There are no term limits.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates on this story.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >