You Be the Judge

Electing a judge for the Santa Clara County Superior Court is usually more about comfort level than name recognition. To put it bluntly: People prefer female judges. That might be why an unknown attorney named Alex Cerul listed his first name as Alexis on the ballot for the June 5 primary. Cerul, a staff attorney for the county, faces the battle-tested Paul Colin out of the District Attorney’s office. With more than 35 judges endorsing Colin in the race, one would think the deputy DA is a shoo-in to replace the retiring Jerome Brock on the bench (he got Brock’s endorsement). But insiders think Cerul has a shot based on “The Ritchie Effect,” named after the shocking 2008 upset scored by Superior Court judge Diane Ritchie. In 2008, prosecutors Jay Boyarsky, Lane Liroff and Tim Pitsker all fell in the runoff to Ritchie, who was (un)known for representing disgruntled Taco Bell employees. (Liroff came in second but again lost to Ritchie in the following election.)  But another judgeship race worth watching—even though we know you won’t—that actually features a real woman is the fight to replace the crusty yet well-respected Neal Cabrinha, who is also retiring. Even though Cynthia Sevely‘s stock has fallen since her beloved former boss Dolores Carr got the boot as DA, she is the de facto frontrunner for now—all despite her rep for being a pessimistic misanthrope. Family (law) guy Steven Pogue will see what he can do to snag some of Sevely’s votes, while Bob Camors is making another run for a seat after having his hat handed to him by Julia Alloggiamento in 2010. Camors has expertise in high tech after working in Palo Alto for years, but this time the Vietnam vet might want to resist wrapping his resume in an American flag to persuade voters. That red, white and blue shtick may work for politicians, but the only colors judges should be known for are black and white.

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.


  1. I hereby endorse Alexis Cerul for Santa Clara Superior Court Judge. 

    I’ve known Cerul for years, and aside from his many years working in the criminal courts assisting sitting judges, he is an upstanding citizen, with great integrity, who is dedicated to bettering his community.  Although we are both lawyers, I know Cerul first and foremost as a good neighbor who is active in making our Northside San Jose neighborhood a better place to live. 

    (By the way, I’ve known Jay Boyarsky for many years, too, and I supported his judicial candidacy a few years back.  So, I have no political axe to grind with the DA’s office in expressing my support for Cerul.)

    Although he goes by Alex, my understanding is that Cerul’s full first name is Alexis. I’m positive he used it in pulling papers with the registrar of voters out of respect for the judicial office.  Similarly, I use Donald on formal legal documents rather than Don, which I prefer in every day life.   

    In short, Cerul’s first name should be a non-issue.  The suggestion that Cerul is somehow attempting to mislead the electorate is an unseemly smear—the sort of thing that dissuades many good people to get involved in the political process.

    • Dear “The Fly” you poor poor soul… yet again you fail at establishing that you are the fly on the wall – seeing and hearing all sorts of juicy information – again, we are able to confirm that you simply imagine things then post them as if they are fact.

      First, you imagine that a woman is more electable to the bench than a man. Then you see that someone with the first name of “Alexis” is running for Judge.

      After some very minimal investigation you determine and that “Alexis Cerul” is a man and can honestly report that as a fact.

      Then the imagination runs wild causing you to say that Cerul is using “Alexis” as his first name to fool voters into voting for him because they are more likley to vote for a woman (or at least a feminine sounding name) for judgeships?  That is just kooky!

      It seems that Alexis Cerul’s real first name is really “Alexis”!!! and you once again have fallen victim to an overactive imagination.

      Please DO NOT attempt to investigate Mayor Reed’s ethics violations or any other violations that may come to light. We would not want the truth to be tainted by the product of your fertile imagination and your lack of a credible body of investigative work.

      Let me ask you a couple of questions: Is the name “The Fly” a pseudomym hiding your true identity? If the answer is “yes,” is your real name “Stephen Glass?”

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