That Superior Court Judge Roger Benitez would give up his long-sought judgeship to take a job on the federal bench after only three years of a six-year term was a bit surprising.
We are sure Benitez, who mostly appeared to have done a good job as a Superior Court judge, had his reasons for the switch, and we are sure they are good ones. And certainly a good jurist was needed to fill the federal slot. Still, his departure leaves a big hole in a court system already impacted with cases, a situation terribly exacerbated by court cases stemming from our two state prisons here.
We hope Gov. Gray Davis, who has never seemed particularly attuned to Imperial County's affairs or needs (we're still awaiting, as his years pass as governor, for his first visit to our county), appoints a new judge soon. There are plenty of qualified attorneys here who would make wonderful Superior Court judges, although many say, only half-jokingly, they couldn't afford the pay cut.