Two politically connected Republicans — Deputy District Attorney Chad Louie and Brandon Martin, the chief of staff for County Supervisor David Couch — are running for the open District 10 seat on the Kern County bench.

Louie, 43, is a fourth-generation Bakersfield native who has been with the District Attorney's office for 12 years. 

"My proudest professional moments are the daily effort to win justice for the many victims of crime I have fought for in the courtroom," Louie said in response to a Californian questionnaire. 

"I have spent my career working to provide our families with safer streets and neighborhoods."

Louie has taught courses in criminal justice, ethics and business law for both undergraduate and graduate programs. And he said he has gained judicial experience by serving as a county planning commissioner. 

Among those he's received endorsements from are state Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, former Assemblywoman Shannon Grove and Superior Court judges Judith Dulcich, Colette Humphrey, Robert Tafoya and Tiffany Organ-Bowles.

Martin, 40, is a Bakersfield native who works as a law professor and civil litigator as well as Couch's chief of staff. 

The clients he's represented include the Getty Museum, Dreamworks Animation and Tejon Ranch, as well as real estate development companies and seriously injured people, according to his campaign website. He has practiced insurance defense, personal injury, real estate and land use law.

“I led a litigation team in representing a seriously injured plaintiff, and our efforts resulted in the largest personal injury settlement in the history of Sutter County," Martin said in response to a Californian questionnaire. "I've represented clients in some of the largest real estate entitlements in the United States."

Martin is the son of influential local attorney George Martin, the architect of the Bakersfield Business Conference.

His endorsements include former sheriffs Carl Sparks and Mack Wimbish, the Kern County Law Enforcement Association, former Congressman Bill Thomas and former Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall.

(8) comments


Tonight Martin was not in attendance of a meet the candidate event at Franklin School. On Kern County Young Republicamd social media page he announced first he was not going because he had a previous engagement also speaking for Spielman that he was not going to be there. Then again Goes and posts the reason he was not going is that his camp could not agree on the questions. Really!!! If Martin has the necessary experience why would he be afraid of the questions? Word on the street George Martin is willing to committ $250,000 of his own money! People do not let this happen. A Superior Court Judge should be honorable and qualified. And now one has to question why was Spielman MIA? Is George Martin calling the shots?


I'd like to respond to this comment. First, in initial private messaging with a YR representative, I mentioned that I'd like to debate, but I had to move another obligation. That wasn't the reason we ultimately decided not to move forward and it wasn't mentioned as a reason in the email I wrote declining to appear. I was just concerned it was a fake forum and unfair. Independently, another candidate and his consultant had the same concerns and reached the same conclusions. I have not and cannot endorse that candidate.

In regards to my father, we practice law together and work on projects together often in partnership. But, we aren't a political machine. I believe I've raised more money than my opponent from the community, but my father and I will both contribute, but nowhere near 250,000! I want to emphasize that my father is a 73 year-old man who grew up sleeping on a dirt floor and is still working hard. I do not have a trust fund and have always attended public schools. I love both of my parents and am proud of my father. We have no role in the Spielman campaign.


Interesting that you say you have no role in the Spielman campaign. In the earlier part of your response you used the term "we". That tells me your campaign has some influence over Spielman's camp and if that is the case that is appalling and tells me everything I need to know about his character.
Did you not commit to attend the event as that was what was announced to the public? Claiming that you felt it was a fake forum is astonishing and insulting to those of us that attended it. Chad and Zimmer did fantastic jobs explaining their qualifications and answering questions posed to them. None of the questions were innapropriate.
Finally, I think George Martin has done good things for our community. This position is extremely important. It is a non political position. Experience and qualifications is most critical as people's lives are at stake whether it be for the victims or the defendants.


The article overlooks a crucial distinguishing difference between my opponent and I: I'm the only candidate who has judicial experience. I've trained to be and now serve as a judge pro tem. I'm hoping in this election the voters will give me the job full time.

I'll add that I did not list my membership in partisan organizations, as my opponent did, because this is a non-partisan race and I felt it was in violation of the spirit, at least, of the Code of Judicial Ethics to do so. I also have not sought nor will I seek any party endorsement. It's important that our community sees our courts as about fairness and impartiality and not about party politics.

Michael Caves

It's interesting that you mention the spirit of the code of judicial ethics, but in the same post, suggest that you serve as a judge.
There is no prohibition on answering truthfully when asked about board positions, but there certainly is a prohibition on using the ‘judge pro tem’ title in a campaign for judge, or otherwise suggesting that serving as a ‘judge pro tem’ is akin to being a judge.
I’m certainly no expert on judicial ethics, particularly during campaigns, but when I first learned that this guy was using the judge pro tem title in campaign materials, it seemed unethical, so I asked. I called the CJA’s (California Judges Association) Judicial Ethics Hotline at (916) 239-4068 and the answer to the question of whether a candidate can use or refer to judge pro tem status during a political campaign was absolutely and unequivocally “No”. Every pro tem that I know who has gone through the required training already knows you can’t refer to yourself as a ‘judge pro tem’ in a campaign for judge, but if any reader is curious, they can call the CJA at (916) 239-4068, and let them know you have a question about judicial ethics. You will likely receive a call back that same day with an answer to your question. I assume this guy already knew that it is misleading to use the judge pro tem title in the election, just he likely knows it is misleading to call himself a ‘law professor’ (as opposed to a part-time, temporary adjunct instructor).
If anyone is curious about the kind of legal experience a person gets during their first year at a large firm, ask any attorney. They will tell you that first year associates organize discovery, write memos, and occasionally appear at depositions. The truth is, the average post bar intern (not even an attorney yet) at the Public Defender’s office or the District Attorney’s office has more courtroom experience than this guy. In other positions, maybe having someone who hasn’t handled any case in court in over ten years (until he filed paperwork to run for judge, then of course he volunteered to be a pro tem) would be okay, but not for superior court judge. This position is too important.


I completely agree with you this position is too important and extensive trial experience matters for a superior court judge. It matters for the victims of crimes and for the accused. Frankly I am terrified his father is trying to buy this election for him?


Michael, we disagree on much of what you wrote in this very long comment -- that includes your interpretation of the Canon of Judicial Ethics and your vision for what makes a good judge. But, most importantly, it's unseemly that you pretend to know what my experience has been because you have some vague idea of what a typical associate does in a large private firm. We do agree, however, that the position is important.

Michael Caves

Part of the reason my post was "a very long comment" was precisely because it was not my interpretation of the cannons of judicial ethics that I relied on, but rather, the interpretation of those cannons by the California Judges Association.
I absolutely don't pretend to know your legal experience. It's true that, like the vast majority of the Kern county Bar, I know almost nothing about your legal experience. That's kind of my point.
Like most attorneys in town, all I know about your legal experience is what I see when I search your bar number on the Kern County Superior Court website, which indexes all civil cases. Through that system I see the most recent involvement as a counsel of record in any Kern county Superior Court was was from over ten years ago.
How can anyone believe that someone who has never done a jury trial is qualified to sit as a trial court judge?
If this were any other position it wouldn't matter. We've met on numerous occasions for different political events, you seem like a nice guy, I've met your daughter and your girlfriend, you guys seem like a great family. But this is too important to be a personality contest. And it's true that we have very different ideas about the experience necessary for someone to be a good trial court judge, and I think that makes sense, given that I've been in court full-time for the past ten years, and youve been a field rep for a supervisor for the past four years. After over a decade as a full-time prosecutor, appearing in court regularly, I value judges who have courtroom experience. If I didn't have trial experience, perhaps I wouldn't see the need for such experience in judges.
So, since I, like most of the other attorneys in this county, am completely uninformed about your courtroom experience, can you tell me if you have ever done a jury trial?

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