With two seats open for San Bernardino County Supreme Court judge, Follow our Courts held an open forum in which three of four candidates in two competitive races — attorney James McGee, Supervising Deputy District Attorney, Melissa Rodriguez and Deputy District Attorney David Tulcan — participated.

McGee and Rodriguez are running against each other, while Tulcan and Defense Attorney Mario Martinez are running against each other. With Tulcan in attendance, he had an opportunity to further ingratiate himself with the community.

As for McGee and Rodriguez, both were gracious and civil with each other when explaining why they’re qualified candidates for the role. Throughout the forum, each candidate shared their career experiences and a little about their personal lives.

McGee highlighted his diverse 20-year experience as both a prosecutor and defense attorney before saying, “Most importantly, above my experience is I understand how both sides work. I understand what everybody is trying to do.”

McGee also discussed his role as a business owner and his work throughout the community before closing his statements by saying, “I've developed a very broad level of support throughout the community and not only in the legal community but the community as a whole and hopefully I can earn your vote.”

Rodriguez discussed her 17-year experience with victims.

“I currently supervise our juvenile unit, our officer-involved shooting unit and our human trafficking unit,” said Rodriguez.

“So I think I have a lot of experience to bring to the table,” she added.

The final candidate to speak was Tulcan, who pointed to his 18-year experience as an attorney saying, “Any type of crime you can imagine out there, I've had my hands in one form or another as a prosecutor, and fought diligently and ethically for the rights of victims and public safety.”

Moderator Toni Momberger asked what the greatest obstacles to justice in San Bernardino County are.

Tulcan said, “As judicial candidates, we are in the political limelight and I think the justice system gets roped into that. The government is inefficient and not operating as well as it could be. The remedy for that is to elect judges that have the requisite experience.”

McGee said, “The greatest obstacle facing justice in San Bernardino comes from the old legal maxim, justice delayed is justice denied.”

Among his solutions to delays in cases, McGee suggested lawyers meet before the courtroom, teleconference meetings and remote appearances.

Rodriguez said, “One of the most pressing issues facing San Bernardino County today is the lack of adequate resources. We need to get more resources to vamp up our police departments and agencies.”

The candidates were then asked to explain what from their background and experience would make them a fair judge.

McGee’s said, “This is kind of like my question because, with my background, I’ve done both sides. I've done over 12 years as a prosecutor and almost eight years as a defense attorney.”

In response to the same question, Rodriguez said, “One of the important things that I can bring to the table is being a supervising deputy district attorney. I work with the court, defense attorney, clerical staff and attorneys underneath me and handle various disputes among various personalities when they have issues and conflicts between them.”

Tulcan responded saying, “Honestly, the greatest asset that I think I've got is personal, and it is something that a lot of people don't understand and it is judicial temperament.”

To explain his response Tulcan pointed to his calm and respectful demeanor before closing his statement by saying, “You don’t need chaos in the courtroom.”

With two seats open for San Bernardino County Supreme Court judge, Follow our Courts held an open forum in which three of four candidates in two competitive races — attorney James McGee, Supervising Deputy District Attorney, Melissa Rodriguez and Deputy District Attorney David Tulcan — participated. McGee and Rodriguez are running against each other, while Tulcan and Defense Attorney Mario Martinez are running against each other. With Tulcan in attendance, he had an opportunity to further ingratiate himself with the community. As for McGee and Rodriguez, both were gracious and civil with each other when explaining why they’re qualified candidates for the role. Throughout the forum, each candidate shared their career experiences and a little about their personal lives. McGee highlighted his diverse 20-year experience as both a prosecutor and defense attorney before saying, “Most importantly, above my experience is I understand how both sides work. I understand what everybody is trying to do.” McGee also discussed his role as a business owner and his work throughout the community before closing his statements by saying, “I've developed a very broad level of support throughout the community and not only in the legal community but the community as a whole and hopefully I can earn your vote.” Rodriguez discussed her 17-year experience with victims. “I currently supervise our juvenile unit, our officer-involved shooting unit and our human trafficking unit,” said Rodriguez. “So I think I have a lot of experience to bring to the table,” she added. The final candidate to speak was Tulcan, who pointed to his 18-year experience as an attorney saying, “Any type of crime you can imagine out there, I've had my hands in one form or another as a prosecutor, and fought diligently and ethically for the rights of victims and public safety.” Moderator Toni Momberger asked what the greatest obstacles to justice in San Bernardino County are. Tulcan said, “As judicial candidates, we are in the political limelight and I think the justice system gets roped into that. The government is inefficient and not operating as well as it could be. The remedy for that is to elect judges that have the requisite experience.” McGee said, “The greatest obstacle facing justice in San Bernardino comes from the old legal maxim, justice delayed is justice denied.” Among his solutions to delays in cases, McGee suggested lawyers meet before the courtroom, teleconference meetings and remote appearances. Rodriguez said, “One of the most pressing issues facing San Bernardino County today is the lack of adequate resources. We need to get more resources to vamp up our police departments and agencies.” The candidates were then asked to explain what from their background and experience would make them a fair judge. McGee’s said, “This is kind of like my question because, with my background, I’ve done both sides. I've done over 12 years as a prosecutor and almost eight years as a defense attorney.” In response to the same question, Rodriguez said, “One of the important things that I can bring to the table is being a supervising deputy district attorney. I work with the court, defense attorney, clerical staff and attorneys underneath me and handle various disputes among various personalities when they have issues and conflicts between them.” Tulcan responded saying, “Honestly, the greatest asset that I think I've got is personal, and it is something that a lot of people don't understand and it is judicial temperament.” To explain his response Tulcan pointed to his calm and respectful demeanor before closing his statement by saying, “You don’t need chaos in the courtroom.”

Election calendar

  • May 9: Early voting begins.
  • May 10: Vote by mail drop boxes open.
  • May 23: Voter registration deadline, although there is same-day registration on Election Day.
  • May 31: Deadline to request a replacement mail ballot.
  • June 7: Election Day for the Statewide Direct Primary Election.

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