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Kevin Ready – a longtime attorney with the Santa Barbara County Counsel’s office – announced he is running for judge, taking on Santa Maria juvenile judge Art Garcia. Ready criticized Garcia’s decision to overturn a “gruesome Lompoc murder” 20 years after the fact on the grounds that the defendant – who confessed – lacked adequate legal counsel. Like any candidate challenging an incumbent judge, Ready faces an uphill battle. Garcia – a five-year veteran of the bench who was appointed by former governor Gray Davis – has been endorsed by his judicial colleagues both north and south, who praise his commitment to and enthusiasm for juvenile court, an assignment most judges look down upon.

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