Judge confesses: he bought the election!

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webmaster | 08/31/12
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Little did I know when writing that article a few days ago about the City Council canceling the election in November that I would ever have a story like this one dumped right on my desk as a result. But I did and here it is. It’s a dandy; just ask Justin White, former mayor of Chowchilla. I couldn’t keep it to myself. I just had to tell someone, and he was nearby, so I chose him.

It all began when I got a phone call from a man who told me he was going to tell me an untold story out of Madera’s past. He said he wanted to tell me about a judge who bought an election in Madera County. I told him I was all ears.

As the story went — and I have checked most of it out in the Madera Tribune, it started when the late John DeGroot, Madera County Superior Court judge, made his first run for the Superior Court. He and attorney Bruce Kennedy battled it out in the June 1990 primary and wound up facing each other in the general election in November. As fate would have it, DeGroot, who was the Chowchilla Justice Court judge at the time, won. In January he took his place on the Superior Court bench, which left the Chowchilla bench vacant.

Because justice court judges served six years, there were four years remaining on DeGroot’s Chowchilla judgeship, and the Madera County Board of Supervisors had some options. It could appoint someone to fill the vacancy, or it could hold a special election. A third option would have left the Chowchilla bench empty until the general election in November 1991...

 

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