Court rejects rules on Arizona judicial candidates

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX (AP) -- A federal appeals court decision says Arizona can't prohibit some candidates for elected judgeships from soliciting campaign contributions or from participating in somebody else's political campaigns.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling Friday on a challenge to the constitutionality of parts of the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct.

The ruling strikes down the challenged provisions as infringing on candidates' First Amendment free-speech rights and as being too broad to serve the state's interest in having an impartial judiciary.

The appellate court's ruling stresses that it applies only to candidates who aren't yet sitting judges, not candidates who are already judges.

Bullhead City lawyer Randolph Wolfson filed the challenge. He twice ran unsuccessfully for a Mohave County judgeship.

Twelve of Arizona's 15 counties elect Superior Court judges.

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