An electoral race involving an East County lawyer rated as "lacking qualifications" is generating a lot of attention. NBC 7 reporter Gene Cubbison spoke to both sides about judicial candidate Jim Miller.
Members of the local legal community gathered Thursday afternoon to call voters' attention to a candidate who they say lacks qualifications to be a Superior Court Judge in San Diego.
Jim Miller, an El Cajon-based business and family law attorney, is running for the position in San Diego County against Deputy District Attorney Robert Amador.
Miller, who earned the most votes in the primary, was given a “lacking qualifications” rating by the San Diego County Bar Association.
Those who gathered at the Hall of Justice Thursday recalled a race in the primary that resulted in another candidate with the same rating who ended up winning. They said they believe he was elected because voters weren’t aware of his qualifications.
A candidate can be rated “Well Qualified,” “Qualified” or “Lacking Qualifications” by the non-partisan group of judges, attorneys and former members of the association.
"[The association] sent out hundreds of questionnaires as well as a questionnaire to myself,” Amador said. “And they look at your experience, they look at your temperament, and they look at 19 different pieces. And what happens is, they do a very good job of evaluating in a nonpartisan race."
Miller responded that the association has created a bench tilted toward judges with backgrounds as government lawyers, especially prosecutors like Amador.
"The current Bar makeup? “ Miller questioned. “The past president is a prosecutor. The current presidents a prosecutor. I understand to an extent that the people that have been selecting judges and putting those prosecutors onto the bench for 30 years would like to see that continue."
Amador, who received the Bar Association’s highest rating of “well qualified” said there is no factual basis for that contention.
Miller also denies he was removed as a "pro tem," or fill-in judge, for Facebooking about a case he was handling. He says the presiding judge has never given a reason for removing him. Fallout from all that cost him the endorsement of the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, which now backs Amador.