SLO County’s open judge seats, 2 judicial candidates emerge

January 23, 2022

Deputy District Attorney Mike Frye


For the first time in decades, there are two open seats for judges in San Luis Obispo County, meaning the voters will select two judges.

Judges Linda Hurst and Dodie Harman are not expected to run for reelection. Deputy District Attorney Michael Frye announced he is running for Linda Hurst’s seat. A prosecutor for 25 years, Frye heads the county’s public integrity unit.

“If elected, I commit to running a courtroom where those who come before me — whether victim, defendant or any other person presenting their case — will leave feeling that they have been heard, even if they disagree with the outcome,” Frye said in his announcement.

Commissioner Erin Childs announced she is running for Dodie Harman’s seat. As a family law commissioner, Childs rules on issues such as child custody, visitation, child and spousal support, domestic violence, divorce and property division.

The California Constitution gives the voters the power to elect their judges, though generally judges resign midterm allowing the governor to select a temporary replacement. Appointees do not have to run until two years have elapsed since their appointment.

Commissioner Erin Childs

Former Judge Ginger Garrett retired suddenly in late July, meaning the public will not have an opportunity to elect a judge to the seat she vacated. Instead, it will remain vacant until Governor Gavin Newsom appoints a new judge.

During the past three decades, there have been only two open judge seats.

In 1996, Judge Harry Woolpert did not resign mid-term because he did not want Republican Governor Pete Wilson appointing a candidate. Nine candidates filed for Woopert’s seat, which Teresa Estrada-Mullaney won in a runoff election against Barry La Barbera.

Later appointed by Governor Wilson, Judge La Barbera announced shortly before the cutoff date for judicial candidates that he would not be running for reelection in 2018, and that he was supporting Tim Covello for his seat.

Currently, both Frye and Childs are running unopposed. The filing period ends on March 11.


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This is a very highly paid, very low workload, forever job for the ambitious political candidate. Do not for a minute think that there is any altruism, professionalism, or commitment to public service involved.


“Frye heads the county’s public integrity unit” – must be a very small department.


Someone local needs to run against Erin Childs, a Fresno transplant. She is a terrible Family Court Commissioner. Are there no other attorneys willing to step up?

P.S. Family Court Commissioner Patrick Perry is sorely missed.


I completely disagree. I’ve appeared with Childs several times and she is brilliant and fair and extremely sharp, but then we could argue whether or not your case went well or not and mine went well or not, right? That’s why a vote for something like this is so subjective. Besides, who cares if she is a Fresno transplant? She’s been here for more than 10 years, when is someone allowed to be considered “local”?


It hasn’t been 10 years yet, more like 5 years. However, she is an excellent judge and does that job better than anyone else currently on the FL bench. It’s hard to say that she shouldn’t be elected.


Oh, I thought she came in after Perry?