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Judicial candidates spar over ballot language

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The June 5 primary is still one month away, but the race for one judicial seat in San Diego is already getting contentious.

Deputy District Attorney Robert Amador recently filed a lawsuit challenging his opponent's ballot declaration and candidate statement for the upcoming election, and the ruling left both parties feeling victorious.

A judge let Amador's opponent for San Diego Superior Court Office No. 25, El Cajon attorney Jim Miller, keep the term "arbitrator" in his ballot designation but ruled some of the wording in Miller's candidate statement must be changed.

In addition to leaving "arbitrator" in Miller's ballot statement, the court allowed Miller to refer to his experience as judge pro tem.

"I'm very happy with the outcome," said Miller, who lost a close judicial runoff election to Deputy District Attorney Richard Monroy in 2010. "I'm upset that Mr. Amador was trying to preclude absolute true, factual qualifications that I have from being disseminated."

Amador felt Miller's opening statement that he is the "only candidate experienced in every primary area of the law," was disparaging, vague and misleading because it implied the other candidates are not experienced. Deputy City Attorney George Schaefer also is running for Office No. 25.

The court ruled that the words "only candidate" must be removed but let the rest of the sentence stay intact.

The court, however, made Miller change his assertion that he had the support of "over 440,000 voters" in the 2010 elections to instead state that he "received over 440,000 votes" between the primary and the general elections of 2010.

The judge also made Miller remove references to deputy city attorney and deputy district attorney in his ballot statement, instead allowing him to reference "government attorneys."

The court also ruled that Miller's last sentence, "A judge from San Diego for San Diego," has to be changed to "A judicial candidate from San Diego for San Diego."

"We wanted to make the statements accurate, based on fact not based upon exaggeration, and I think that's what the court ruled," Amador's attorney, Jim Pokorny, said. "And we're happy to see the candidate statement changed to reflect that.

"There were four findings in our favor. It would have been nice had a final ruling included our challenge to the ballot designation."

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