Paulding County Superior Court Judge James R. Osborne qualified for re-election last Monday, and then something interesting happened: his daughter, attorney Elizabeth Osborne Williams, qualified late in the morning on Friday (the last day of qualifying) to apparently run against him. At least, that was one possibility. The other possibility was that Judge Osborne was setting her up to pass on the baton on to her, thereby bypassing a crowded election.
Judge Osborne did what was expected, he withdrew from his candidacy yesterday leaving his daughter the only qualified candidate and apparent default winner for the election.
Lawyers tend to line up for open seats on the bench, and I have no doubt that there would have been a number of them vying for that office. Rarely do the lawyers in the court circuit challenge a sitting judge (unless they’re vulnerable) since they would be arguing cases before and after the election, so I can understand it’s not the best option if you want a viable career. Needless to say, those who would’ve run for that seat are understandably upset. Judge Osborne hand-picked his successor rather than letting the election process work.
According to Jim Galloway over at the Political Insider, the Secretary of State’s office is looking at what options are available concerning this matter, and the Judicial Qualifications Commission could be asking a few questions too.