On Sunday, September 26th, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio’s largest newspaper, endorsed Mike’s candidacy for the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. We have placed the text of that endorsement below. The entire article can be found online at http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/09/the_plain_dealer_endorses_mich.html. There are Facebook and Twitter links available on that page, and we’d greatly appreciate anyone re-posting the article onto their respective pages.
This race is far from over, but the attitudes of voters are slowly changing and we hope to be able to help usher in a new era for Cuyahoga County on November 2nd!
Text of Plain Dealer Endorsement:
If indicted Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget M. McCafferty truly believes in the integrity of the judicial system and the tenets of the Democratic Party to which she appears to have such strong allegiance, she will end her stubborn and irrational re-election bid, and resign.
That kind of selfless sacrifice would speak to the credibility of the court, the accountability of elected officials and her own ethical standards. It would show respect to a public victimized by political predators, and it would set a needed precedent in a county with a government corroded by corruption.
Resigning would not be an admission of guilt, and McCafferty is entitled to the presumption of innocence. But the federal criminal charge levied as part of a far-reaching corruption probe has tarred her ability to mete out untainted justice. Until that taint is removed, she must step aside.
That McCafferty, 44, does not recognize the importance of doing so says much about her suitability for the bench.
Although she is a sitting judge running for re-election, McCafferty has never won the endorsement of The Plain Dealer editorial board — unlike more prominent indictees such as Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and now-convicted former Auditor Frank Russo, repeatedly endorsed on these pages, albeit often with faint praise.
“This will make me a better judge and a better person,” McCafferty told reporters on the steps of the federal courthouse, shortly after pleading not guilty to a felony charge of lying to FBI agents investigating, among other things,
whether Dimora influenced litigation in her courtroom.
Fortunately, neither the Ohio court system nor her political party believes that.
Recognizing the importance of keeping a judge facing felony charges from ruling on other cases, the Ohio Supreme Court put McCafferty on an immediate administrative leave with pay, pending the disposition of the case against her. If she is found guilty, she will be suspended without pay and could be disbarred.
Her name also has been removed from sample ballots sent to Democratic voters to guide their choices in the November election. It is too late to have McCafferty’s name taken off the Nov. 2 general election ballot, but voters should do the right thing, and elect her opponent.
Michael Astrab, 38, a respected criminal defense lawyer, deserves the opportunity to serve. He would be the better choice in this race even if McCafferty were not facing charges.
Astrab has experience, energy and a credible strategy to make the court more effective, efficient and technology-friendly. He has represented clients in both the Juvenile and Common Pleas courts. The Norman S. Minor Bar Association and the Ohio Women’s Bar Association rate Astrab higher than McCafferty, who was not recommended by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association.
Astrab offers voters a chance to effect positive and meaningful change on the bench. Voters should accept that chance.