Catherine Voelker: On the Issues
Why are you running for this office?
I thrive in positions where I can serve my community and continue to grow and develop intellectually. I am at the high point of my career as a prosecutor, with the knowledge that I have twenty years remaining in my legal career. During the first half of my legal career, I have had the opportunity to acquire extensive knowledge in specialized areas of criminal law, grow intellectually and emotionally, and hone my trial skills. After much introspection, I decided that I would like to be a judge because it would allow me to continue to serve my community, expand and build upon my current legal knowledge and abilities, gain an additional set of skills, and remain engaged and challenged for the remainder of my legal career.
Please list key published articles/books if applicable (include links where possible).
Name up to three ways that you will contribute to improving the judiciary.
As a judge, my goal would be to serve and preside over matters in a way that would inspire confidence in my decisions and temperament as a judicial officer. I believe this can be done by acting decisively from a place of competence, knowledge, fairness, and adherence to the law.
Identify up to three most important current public issues that the courts are currently addressing, or that you expect to be addressed during the course of the next 5 years.
The rules that apply to candidates in judicial elections do not permit an answer to this question. However, I have found that most people understand why we cannot answer these questions when they are provided with the explanation and rationale for such rules. Judicial elections are strikingly different from most elections because voters are accustomed to hearing candidates take a definitive stance on a variety of issues. Oftentimes, judicial candidates are urged by others to present their views on issues that could potentially come before them as judges. While it is frustrating to not have a direct answer to certain questions, I take the oath I took to follow the law very seriously, and do not wish to say or do anything that could compromise the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
No judicial candidate is permitted to make a statement that would commit the candidate with respect to cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court (please see CA Code of Judicial Ethics, Canon 5B(1) for the exact language). Judges are charged with impartially following and upholding the law, so that anyone appearing in their courtroom can have confidence in the judge applying the law to them in the same way it would be applied to any other party. Expressing an opinion on an issue that may ultimately come before the judge could undermine the public’s confidence in the judge’s ability to be fair.
Considering the big picture, these provisions are designed to uphold the fundamental principles concerning the judicial institution. Judges are expected to act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. This is why it is common to see images of Lady Justice blindfolded – the blindfold is symbolic, and stands for the ideal that justice should be applied to every individual using a common set of principles without any favoritism or bias whatsoever.
Name up to three court judges or justices that you most admire — and, briefly, why.
Judge Vincent O’Neill – he inspired my legal career when I was only 12 years old, and has set the finest example as a judge with regard to legal acumen, temperament, and fairness.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg –her work ethic is beyond reproach and admirable.
What is your judicial philosophy as it applies to the U.S. Constitution?
As a Senior Deputy District Attorney, I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws of the State of California, and have had a successful career doing so for the past 15 years. This is an affirmative duty that will follow me to the bench as a judge.
What public policy area(s) are you most interested in and feel the most passion for personally?
For the reasons outlined in response to Question 4 above, it would not be appropriate for me to answer this question.
Do you plan to run for higher office in the future?
Please list candidates you have endorsed publicly, if any.
I have not publicly endorsed any candidates.
Please list candidates and organizations that have endorsed you, if any.
I am proud to be endorsed by the following individuals and organizations:
Greg Totten, Ventura County District Attorney
Bill Ayub, Ventura County Sheriff
Matt LaVere, Mayor of Ventura
Erik Nasarenko, Ventura City Council Member
Clint Garman, Mayor of Santa Paula
Janice Parvin, Mayor of Moorpark
Keith Mashburn, Mayor of Simi Valley
Michael D. Bradbury, Ventura County District Attorney (Retired)
Janice L. Maurizi, Chief Assistant District Attorney for Ventura County (Retired) & Bureau Director, Los Angeles County District Attorney (Retired)
Chief Ken Corney, Ventura Police Department
Chief Joel Justice, Ventura County Community College District
Chief David Livingstone, Simi Valley Police Department
Chief Steve McLean, Santa Paula Police Department
Police Chief Michael Morris
Police Chief Andrew Salinas
Chief Scott Whitney, Oxnard Police Department
Robert A. Briner, Chief Investigator, Ventura County District Attorney’s Office (Retired)
Santa Paula Police Officers’ Association
Ventura Police Officers’ Association
Ventura County Prosecutors’ Association
Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association
Simi Valley Police Officers’ Association
Oxnard Peace Officers’ Association
Ventura County Professional Firefighters’ Association
Hon. Patricia M. Murphy, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County
Hon. Ryan J. Wright, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County
Hon. Kevin G. DeNoce, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County
Hon. Derek D. Malan, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County
Hon. Anthony J. Sabo, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County
Hon. Gilbert A. Romero, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County
Hon. Henry J. Walsh, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County
Hon. Dino Inumerable, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County
Hon. Matthew P. Guasco, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County
Hon. Colleen Toy White, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County (Retired)
Hon. Benjamin F. Coats, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County
Hon. John E. Dobroth, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County (Retired)
Hon. Frederick H. Bysshe, Judge of the Superior Court, Ventura County (Retired)
Hon. Patricia L. Kelly, Judge of the Superior Court, Santa Barbara County
Jacqui Irwin, California Assemblymember, District 44
Women Lawyers of Ventura County
If you have been rated by the Bar Association, what was that rating?
Catherine Voelker has been rated as Well Qualified for the office of Superior Court Judge. Ms. Voelker received a rating of Outstanding in the categories of Professional Ability and Work Ethic/Resource Management and a rating of Very Good in the categories of Professional Experience, Judicial Temperament and Professional Reputation.
Have you ever been disciplined by the State Bar or the Commission on Judicial Performance? If so, please explain.
No, I have not.