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Local attorneys voice their preference for judicial appointments

 Posted: 3:40 PM August 13, 2013

Former County Counsel Douglas M. McGeary and public defender Kelly W. Ravassipour were the top choices for the county's next two judges in a poll of their peers.

McGeary and Ravassipour earned 93 and 71 votes, respectively, in the Jackson County Judicial Preference Bar Poll.

Sixty percent of the eligible pool of 322 Jackson County attorneys voted on 10 candidates to replace judges Daniel L. Harris, who departed on July 1, and G. Philip Arnold, who will retire Sept. 1.

The final selections will be made by Gov. John Kitzhaber.

"I feel honored to be selected by my peers," said McGeary, 57, adding he believes he has a "judicial disposition" and looks forward to serving the public by rendering "fair, balanced and impartial judgments."

McGeary ran in 2008, but was defeated by Tim Barnack.

Ravassipour, 39, is the sole female seeking appointment. A defense attorney with the Southern Oregon Public Defender's Office, she has worked on cases from petty thefts to murder trials.

Ashland attorney Christian Hearn came in third in the bar poll with 53 votes. One of two civil lawyers who applied for the judicial seats, Hearn specializes in real estate and land-use issues.

Two Jackson County prosecutors, David G. Hoppe and J. Adam Peterson, took the fourth and fifth spots, with 39 and 35 votes respectively.

James J. Stout, Joseph M. Charter, David J. Orr, Allan E. Smith and Nathan D. Wente rounded out the final five candidates listed in the bar poll.

The attorneys' poll is independent of the governor's office, said Liani Reeves, Kitzhaber's chief legal adviser. The governor will make his selections after reviewing the candidates' applications forms, checking with references and talking with the presiding circuit court judges and Bob Kleker, the trial court administrator, she said.

Reeves said the governor hopes to make his appointments by early September, Reeves said.

— Sanne Specht

Read more in Wednesday's paper.

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