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JUDGE CHALLENGED OVER ENDORSEMENT.

Byline: Don Holland Daily News Staff Writer

A deputy public defender filed papers Monday to disqualify a judge who endorsed prosecutor Kevin McGee in his run for Superior Court judge - a move that, if successful, could affect the caseloads of 14 Ventura County judges.

Deputy Public Defender Christina Briles filed the motion to have Judge Barry Klopfer removed from a case being handled by the Public Defender's Office. A hearing on the request is set for today.

Public Defender Kenneth Clayman downplayed the significance of the move and said there is no blanket policy to disqualify the 14 judges who publicly endorsed McGee, the chief assistant district attorney.

Deputy Public Defender Gary Windom also is running for the seat on the Superior Court bench.

Although legal, the judges' endorsements were unprecedented in the county and ruffled feathers among deputy public defenders and some private attorneys.

``They're uniformly upset with the judges' having done this,'' Clayman said. ``When a judge has endorsed a member of the opposition office and in essence a member of your own office is opposed, how do you feel about the fairness of that judge hearing a case involving your client?''

Windom appeared Monday afternoon in the court of Judge Edward Brodie, one who endorsed McGee, but Windom did not seek to disqualify him.

``I'm still on the outside about this,'' Windom said. ``I have not been in any of the planning.''

Windom, who will face McGee in a November runoff, said he has not yet decided whether he will seek to disqualify judges who backed McGee.

Unofficial final tallies show McGee finished with 40.6 percent and Windom with 30.8 percent, followed by Cathleen Drury with 28.2 percent. Because no candidate received a majority, McGee and Windom face a November runoff election.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 16, 1998
Words:298
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