It’s probably fair to say that in the eight years he has served on the bench as a Superior Court Judge for Riverside County, Judge Craig Riemer has heard a lot of stories and seen a lot of strange tales.
Ask him what sends him home each day feeling like he’s done an honest day’s work and his answer is unwavering.
“My most satisfying moments are when I make a decision that is a difficult one, that I could have let slide to someone else. It’s a profession that requires a person who is strong, with a backbone to make the hard calls. For me or for any judge, those moments come when you make a tough decision that you know is right, ” Riemer said.
That kind of experience and endurance is what Riemer feels will deliver him through a challenge to his seat in the June 5 election by Riverside County Supervising Deputy District Attorney John Henry.
Riemer said that he believes some of those tough decisions he’s made over the years are part of what drew Mr. Henry as a challenger.
Three vacancies on the bench in 2011 or submitting a free application to California Governor Jerry Brown for consideration would have been the more typical, less costly road for the judicial hopeful, Riemer said.
It’s unusual, Riemer said, adding that he suspects Henry’s aspirations are motivated more by union politics.
“A challenge to one of us is viewed by the bench as a challenge to us all,” Riemer said, noting that Henry’s candidacy sparked three other races for a judicial seat this year.
“To run against a judge when there are other less complicated options (to acquire a seat) is a calculated decision. There is too much at stake,” Riemer said, calling Henry’s run “politically naive.”
Riemer said that he wants voters to know his years of experience, in contrast to Henry’s youth, trying and hearing a broad spectrum of cases in the courtroom counts for something.
Noting the importance of electing someone who can rule from the bench immediately, Riemer said: “My opponent has limited life experience. Very few people feel ready to take a seat on the bench after just 12 years of experience. How long do we wait for a person to get up to speed (in the courtroom)? Do we want someone so young making life-altering decisions?
Riemer said he plans to actively defend his record by getting the word out to voters.
Riemer said: “I have the reputation of being very detail-oriented and doing things right. I have been fortunate to have had good role models and good training as a young lawyer.’
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.