Out of all local races, judge positions are often the hardest to research and understand. Judges aren’t identified on a ballot by party preference, and their professional history often makes it difficult to determine how they would side in precedent-creating cases. How can you tell if you’re electing a judge with Democratic values?
Thanks to Jeanne Brown of the League of Women Voters we’ve been able to put together a fantastic panel to discuss why the role of judge is important.
- Professor Samantha Begovich, JD, Esq.
- Retired Superior Court Judge Janet I. Kintner
- Retired Superior Court Judge Laura P. Hammes
Superior Court Judges
For the March 3, 2020 ballot we’ll also consider endorsement of Democratic candidates running for uncontested open positions:
and we’ll consider endorsing in the contested seat at our January meeting.
Additional Agenda Items/Speakers:
We’ll also judge competing proposals on Newland Sierra a development project that signatories forced the County Board Of Supervisors to place on the ballot next year or rescind their previous approval.
- No on Newland Sierra – Clif Williams, Land Use Analyst at Latham & Watkins
- Vote Yes on Better Choice – Linda Bailey, Community Strategies Group
Samantha Begovich is an experienced trial lawyer, a former U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division federal prosecutor and a current County of San Diego Deputy District Attorney. Ms. Begovich’s successful, complex litigation experience includes over 50 jury trials along with appeals court advocacy. She has practiced in San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties, Washington, DC, Charleston, SC, and Birmingham, AL.
Ms. Begovich is currently an appellate lawyer that argues significant cases before the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court involving first-degree murder, sexual assault, jurisdiction, ineffective assistance of counsel and sentencing issues resulting in published decisions.
Ms. Begovich has taught Courtroom Procedure, in a mock trial setting, to thousands of San Diego Regional Law Enforcement Academy recruits since 1995. She speaks to youth and community groups, law enforcement organizations, and a variety of legal institutions about the criminal justice system. She has taught jury selection, closing arguments, sexual assault, domestic violence, professionalism in the courtroom, narcotics trafficking, and Fourth Amendment law. She is an Adjunct Professor at USD.
On November 8, 2019, she was elected as one of four Directors out of an initial field of 17 to the San Diego County Bar Board which focuses on lawyer preparedness, career planning, and wellness for over 6,000 attorneys. She was re-elected twice as Chairwoman of the San Diego County Employees’ Retirement Association, a $13.5 Billion trust fund for 48,000 County of San Diego members.
Ms. Begovich is a past Chair of the Stanford Law Society of San Diego, Co-Chair, Malin Burnham San Diego Center of Civic Engagement Leadership Council, Vice-Chair, San Diego Foundation’s Leadership Fund Steering Committee, Advisory Board Member, Kim Center for Social Balance and Executive Board Member, at Access Youth Academy.
Ms. Begovich received her B.A. from the University of California, San Diego and her law degree from Stanford Law School with Distinction.
Retired Superior Court Judge Janet I. Kintner
At the time of her appointment by then-California Governor Jerry Brown, Jr., Judge Kintner was the third woman in San Diego history to be named a judge. In addition, at the time of her appointment, Judge Kintner held the distinction of being the youngest judge in the State of California (31 years old) and the first pregnant woman appointed a California judge.
Judge Kintner brought a diverse legal background to the court. A private practitioner concentrating on civil litigation cases and criminal defense work (1974-76), Judge Kintner also served as a San Diego Deputy City Attorney (1971-74) handling criminal and civil cases and a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of San Diego (1969-70).
A member of numerous judicial groups and task forces, Judge Kintner served as president of the California-Nevada Womens Judges Association (1991) and chaired a number of court committees including the State Civil Committee for the Administrative Office of the Courts. She spent five years on the State Ethics Committee and shared her knowledge with judges and lay-people alike by teaching at judicial seminars and local colleges.
Judge Kintner received her law degree from the University of Arizona Law School (1968) where she also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Government (1966).
Retired Superior Court Judge Laura P. Hammes
A former San Diego County Deputy District Attorney, Judge Hammes was appointed in 1984 by Governor George Deukmejian.
Judge Laura Hammes’ expertise was in the field of criminal law where she spent the past 21 of her 22 years on the bench. Judge Hammes handled numerous high profiles cases, including the 1989 death penalty trial of serial killer David Allen Lucas. Judge Hammes was also the first jurist in San Diego to order a life sentence under Three Strikes in the early 1990s. She gained notoriety more recently when she released three juveniles originally charged in the Stephanie Crowe murder case. That case was subsequently dismissed after discovery of DNA evidence implicating another suspect.
Throughout her career, Judge Hammes worked to improve the judicial system. She was a member of Governor George Deukmejian’s Judicial Selection Advisory Board. In 1992 she started The Criminal Justice Forum, a professional roundtable whose members include experienced criminal law experts from the judiciary, defense, and prosecution. Founding members included Hammes, Judge Perry Langford, well-known defense attorney Peter Hughes, and then prosecutor, now Judge George Clarke. The Forum has weighed in on issues such as placement of the San Diego County Jail downtown, Rules of Court, and the new California Criminal Jury Instructions.
Judge Hammes was a member of the Superior Court Executive Committee and chaired San Diego County’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force where she co-wrote and helped pass legislation to share information between Juvenile Courts and public schools. Other changes she spearheaded through her many committee chairmanships included: establishment of the “First Tuesday Brown Bag” educational programs for judges county-wide, revised county felony plea forms, a permanent judicial photo display in the civil court downtown, and a revised procedure for handling citizen complaints against subordinate judicial officers.
A native San Diegan, Judge Hammes graduated from the Stanford Law School and served with the District Attorney‘s Office from 1972 to 1984 where she specialized in child abuse and molestation cases.
Clif Williams handles land use entitlement for complex development and energy projects throughout the western United States. Mr. Williams provides strategic counseling to clients on political and regulatory matters, and works with agency staff to ensure all entitlement issues are considered and worked through prior to approval. Mr. Williams also provides land use diligence to real estate investors, REITs, and lendors to assess land use risk prior to closing.
Linda Bailey is the Principal of Community Strategies Group, Inc., a community relations firm specializing in consensus building and community outreach. She started her firm in 2006 in response to requests for her expertise. Bailey spent 2 years as the CEO of the Escondido Chamber of Commerce, building and strengthening relationships in North San Diego County. She brings strong relationships with city and elected officials in Escondido, San Marcos and Oceanside as well as the County of San Diego Department of Planning and Land Use and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
- Officer reports
- Membership renewals started on November 1, 2019 for the upcoming election year. You can renew (or join) online here.
- New Business
Saturday December 7th at 5:05PM is the OB Holiday Parade, come and march down Newport Ave with Democratic candidates and elected officials to let them know there’s an important election on March 3, 2020!
Our meetings are CHILD FRIENDLY- we will have toys, coloring books, snacks, etc. in a “kid space” at the rear of the meeting hall.
November 24, 2019
4:00PM – 5:30PM
Point Loma Assembly
3035 Talbot St
San Diego, CA 92106
Members are encouraged to get together from 3:30PM before the meeting starts, please bring whatever light drinks/snacks that you’d like to share.