Since announcing his retirement in January, Judge Robert H. Oliver said he wanted to remain neutral and not endorse any candidate in the upcoming Nov. 4 election to replace him on the Fresno County Superior Court bench.
He kept his promise in the June primary when he didn't endorse any of the candidates.
With the election six weeks away, Oliver has changed his mind and thrown his support behind Fresno attorney and adjunct law professor Rachel Hill.
In an email to Hill, Oliver said he picked her after seeing her square off against her opponent -- Fresno chief homicide prosecutor Lisa Gamoian -- in two candidate forums.
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"These were of particular benefit to me as I and others in attendance heard each candidate respond to questions posed by the moderator, free from pre-scripted sound bites or carefully crafted and edited printed material," Oliver wrote.
"Upon a good deal of reflection, an evaluation of the judicial philosophies of each candidate gleaned from the referenced forums, printed material and direct and indirect comments of supporters for each candidate, I felt compelled to rethink my previous decision not to endorse a candidate in this general election."
Tuesday, Hill gushed about getting Oliver's endorsement.
"I'm deeply honored. I'm beyond honor," Hill said. "Getting his endorsement is the highest honor a candidate can receive."
Oliver joined the bench in April 1995. He was a business lawyer for 22 years and partner in the firm of Wild, Carter, Tipton & Oliver, when Gov. Pete Wilson tapped him to replace retired Judge Annette LaRue.