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In addition a substantial allegation has surfaced in the race for Lincoln County Circuit Court Judge. A supporter of the incumbent makes a claim of a reprimand from the Oregon State Bar for ethical violations in connection with a case some years back involving court challenger Russell Baldwin. The challenger responds via a rebuttal.
“Vote for Judge Branford”
To the Editor:
Judge Thomas Branford has 29 years of experience as a Lincoln County Judge. It is vital that voters return him to the bench. Judge Branford’s record as an honest, ethical, fair-minded judge speaks for itself.
His opponent has a record that speaks for itself as well, but Russell Baldwin’s record is very disturbing. Please do a little research and find out what you can about this man. His listing on the Oregon State Bar member directory will show that he was reprimanded in 2001. The State Supreme Court record showing Baldwin’s ethical violations can be found on Page 171 of this report:
More recently, look up Lincoln County Case #15CV12092. You will see that Baldwin lost this case and now owes his former clients $260,000. This is public record, available for anyone to see.
As we all know, anyone can get elected to anything in this country if enough people fail to pay attention. Please learn what you can about the people you are voting for.
Lincoln City, OR
RESPONSE FROM JUDGE CANDIDATE RUSSELL BALDWIN
April 21, 2018
Re: Responding to Rick Mark’s Letter re: Branford for Judge
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to two points made in Mr. Mark’s letter.
1. Stipulation. Nearly 20 years ago, I represented a home owners association. The only issue was whether a homeowner had unlawfully built into a setback area. The judge awarded my client summary judgment, meaning we won. Afterward, the losing attorney complained to the bar. He urged that I should not have represented the association because I had done a will for the homeowner many years before, when he and I were law partners. Since the dispute involved only a few hundred dollars, I stipulated to a public reprimand to put it behind me with a minimum of fuss. That lawyer and I remain friends, and he refers clients to me. And since my stipulation, I have been admitted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United State Supreme Court bars. To gain admission, I detailed the above facts.
2. Lincoln 15cv12092. About three years ago, I had to sue a former client to get paid. I did so after I was forced to resign due to his conduct.
The circuit court ordered me to sue my former clients for foreclosure. My statutory lien was against a judgment. So I did as the court instructed me. I hired lawyers from out of county, and more than 2 years later the circuit court had still not foreclosed my lien — a lien securing money that the State had been ordered to pay into court. Later, Judge Branford inexplicably refused to foreclose my lien after trial. So the court still holds my money it previously awarded for my services. And the matter has been appealed, so the case is long from finished. And my lien still remains—after 3 years! A reasonable person might conclude that our circuit court is quite unfamiliar with the basics of foreclosure law.
Our state constitution guarantees that “justice shall be administered, openly and without purchase, completely and without delay.” Or. Const. Art. I, sect. 10. It is my professional and personal experience that our court’s business is not receiving the attention that our constitution requires. That is why I am running for judge. Our judiciary will benefit from the balance that my 30 years of civil litigation experience shall bring. I will faithfully discharge my oath, and my duty under ORS 1.050. We can, and should, do better. Vote for change: timely hearings of your concerns.
Follow me on Facebook, RussBaldwinforJudge.
Russell L. Baldwin, Attorney at Law