Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Buffalo News' candidate endorsements for judicial races illustrate one of the many reason that judicial elections are a poor method of selecting judges. Tracy Bannister and Jeffrey Voelklest are running for the one contested seat this year. There is no way that any voter, even the best informed voter, could have any insight into what sort of judges either would be, unless you happen to be a lawyer who has dealt with them. Ms. Bannister has been confidential law assistant to one of the best judges in the area for years. That means that she has worked closely with one of the best judges in the area for years, and seen what is effective. Judge Voelklest was appointed to the City Court bench a few months ago. As a purely practical matter, he is not an exceptionally experienced candidate, but the News in its wisdom, gives him its endorsement on the grounds that before he went on the bench he tried a lot of cases. Being a good trial lawyer and being a good judge, I am here to tell you, are completely different skill sets. This endorsement is based on a false premise, and does not inform anyone's decision. Probably Judge Voelklest will be fine, but I'm voting for Tracy, as will, I suspect, most lawyers who have had dealings with her.

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