Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Sat, Dec. 07

Attorney files suit on campaign restrictions

KINGMAN - Randolph Wolfson, an attorney running for Superior Court Judge in Division 5, has filed suit in Phoenix to block the enforcement of state judicial canons that would otherwise greatly restrict his ability to run a partisan campaign.

Wolfson, of Golden Valley, runs the Bullhead City-based Wolfson Law Center, which handles medical malpractice and some criminal defense cases. He is also the lone Democrat running against a field of three Republicans for the Superior Court seat.

While Arizona judicial elections are partisan, the candidates cannot campaign as typical partisan candidates would. This is because the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct contains a canon prohibiting judicial candidates from "making statements that commit the candidate regarding cases, controversies or issues likely to come before the court," as well as preventing them from supporting other candidates or soliciting campaign contributions. Wolfson has asked for an injunction to lift that canon's restrictions for the 2008 election.

Wolfson attempted to challenge the state canon during a 2006 campaign for Kingman's Justice of the Peace as well, but the case was dismissed when Wolfson failed to get an advisory opinion from the Arizona Judicial Ethics Advisory Commission confirming the limitations placed on his speech.

Wolfson said despite its dismissal of his 2006 case, the Arizona Supreme Court Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee had concluded in a formal opinion that state judicial candidates may publicly discuss their personal opinions of an initiative measure or other political subject. They did not, however, address Wolfson's desire to solicit campaign donations or allow his family to campaign on his behalf.

"They basically caved on the primary issue, and that was me speaking about the 2006 same-sex marriage amendment," Wolfson said. "The district court determined that the state of Arizona didn't have the opportunity to respond ... so they never got to the (other) issues."

Wolfson said these types of cases are usually heard quickly, so he was hoping to have his concerns addressed by the end of June. Regardless of the outcome, however, he said he was not about to stop talking about the issues that define him.

"I have been and will continue to discuss the falling dollar, the state of our government, the war in Iraq - issues that are near and dear to my heart that reflect who I am as a candidate," he said."

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