The new San Diego County Superior Court in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

The San Diego County Bar Association evaluated five of the candidates vying for four San Diego Superior Court seats in the March 3 primary as “exceptionally qualified” for the office.

For more than 40 years, the bar association has evaluated candidates in contested judicial elections as a public service, noting that very little information on judicial candidates is readily available to the public.

The association said “exceptionally qualified” means that a candidate currently possesses “exceptional professional ability, experience, competence, integrity and/or temperament indicating an exceptional ability to perform the judicial function.” The five candidates with this top evaluation are:

  • Office 18Roberta Wilson, an attorney known for her work in consumer fraud cases.
  • Office 22 — Both Alana Wong Robinson, an assistant U.S. attorney, and Mark Skeels, senior chief deputy city attorney in San Diego. Robinson is the daughter of Mexican and Chinese immigrants and is known for prosecuting human trafficking cases. Skeels is a former professional baseball player and Stanford University graduate.
  • Office 30Paul Starita, an assistant U.S. attorney who is also a Marine Corps judge advocate.
  • Office 36Michelle Ialeggio, a deputy district attorney who is an expert in legal ethics.

Four other candidates were evaluated as “well qualified.” They are CJ Moody in office 18; and Mike Murphy, Pete Murray and Tim Nader in office 30. The remaining two candidates were evaluated as “lacking qualifications.”

“Our goal in providing evaluations of judicial candidates is to help San Diegans make informed decisions when voting for candidates running to be a judge,” said Johanna Schiavoni, president of the bar association. “As the largest law-related organization in San Diego County, we seek to assist voters by providing neutral evaluations of judicial candidates based on a rigorous vetting process.

State court judges in California serve six-year terms and are elected by county voters on a nonpartisan ballot.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.