By Shannon Rapose
Kern Valley Sun
On Wednesday, April 11, Kern County Superior Court judicial candidate Brandon Martin dropped by to talk with members of the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce during their general meeting at Paradise Cove.
Martin was born and raised in Bakersfield, and after graduating from Stockdale High School, he attended college at the University of California, Los Angeles, and then graduated from law school at the University of California, Berkeley.
During his career, Martin stated that he worked in small towns and big cities on behalf of powerless individuals as well as some of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the world, both in the private and public sector. But, when Brandon returned home to Kern County to practice law with his father and work on the Bakersfield Business Conference, he realized that public service was where he wanted to be. Currently, Martin is an attorney, serves as a Judge Pro Tem in the Kern County Superior Court and teaches at the Kern County College of Law.
Martin’s main campaign promise is that if he is elected judge, he will evaluate all the evidence that is presented in a fair and impartial manner, applying the appropriate law, and that he will never disregard anyone that is in that courtroom.
“What I have learned is that a good judge is consistently fair and impartial,” said Martin. “And at the root of that fairness is respect. Like the geography of Kern County, respect is a river that runs through it.”
Martin also mentioned that he has made roughly 10 visits to the Kern River Valley and feels that the community could greatly benefit from a traveling judge, which is what he hopes to be, because he feels it would be the best way to serve the communities throughout Eastern Kern County. He was also very disappointed to hear that individuals have had to drive the hour it takes to get to Bakersfield or Ridgecrest for a 5-minute arraignment. Martin also mentioned that if the broadband issue in the Kern River Valley could be resolved in the near future, telecommunications could be a way to give individuals better access to the court system as well.
While on the campaign trail, Martin has heard from community members, several times, that victims are often victimized all over again because they feel like their voices aren’t being heard, since more than 90 percent of cases end in a plea bargain for one reason or another. He assured members of the chamber that victims would be encouraged to speak in his courtroom before a plea bargain is approved.
“That’s something I’m going to fix if I am elected judge. Their voices will be heard,” said Martin. “Even though efficiency is important, it’s not the same as justice. We have to have both.”