State Capitol News
4:30 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Open Primary Opponents want Time Before Judge

Foes of an open primary measure asked the state's high court today to force a trial judge to give them two more hours to make their case for bouncing the measure from the ballot. 

Judge John Rea gave attorney Mike Liburdi two hours on Thursday to prove that thousands of petitions for the measure should be disqualified because circulators are convicted felons. Once that time was up, he gave supporters a chance to make their case. In the end, Rea agreed that Liburdi had presented enough evidence to knock out more than 2,000 signatures. But that still left enough for Proposition 121 to qualify. Liburdi said it's irrelevant that Rea told him up front he had only two hours, saying due process requires that courts be flexible.

"And if it appears that one party is going to require more time to present, particularly here because the court required that we introduce our petition signature sheets piecemeal rather than all at once as we wanted to do, if that's going to be the case, the court should react to the realities of the trial proceeding and it needs to adjust the schedule accordingly," Liburdi said

But attorneys for initiative proponents want the high court to reject the plea, saying Liburdi should have managed his time better. With ballots at the printer, the justices have only days to make a decision.

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