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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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San Diego County Superior CourtCandidate for Judge, Office 30

Photo of Tim Nader

Tim Nader

Deputy Attorney General
175,609 votes (26%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Assure fairness and justice for all who come to court
  • Support public safety
  • Promote understanding of our justice system



Profession:Deputy Attorney General State of California
Deputy Attorney General, California Dept. of Justice (Civil Division) (2008–current)
Board Member, Southwestern Community College — Elected position (2010–current)
Child Support Attorney, County of San Diego (2002–2008)
Mayor of Chula Vista, City of Chula Vista — Elected position (1991–1994)
Deputy Attorney General (Criminal Division), California Dept. of Justie (1984–1991)
City Councilman, City of Chula Vista — Elected position (1986–1991)
Commissioner, Chula Vista International Friendship Commission — Appointed position (1983–1986)
Research Attorney, California Court of Appeal (1982–1984)
Ex-officio Commissioner, Chula Vista Resource Conservation Commission — Appointed position (1973–1975)


U.C. Berkeley J.D., Law (1982)

Community Activities

Board Member (President 2010-11 and 2016-17), Southwestern Community College (2010–current)
Executive Board Member, California State Bar Public Law Section (2009–2011)
Board Member (Vice President 2008-09), Lawyers Club of San Diego (2006–2009)
Member, California State Bar Committee on Crime Victims' Rights (1990–1991)
Executive Board Member, Sierra Club, San Diego Chapter (1984–1986)


Tim Nader grew up in Chula Vista and returned to his hometown after law school.  He worked for Justice Don Work on the California Court of Appeal for two years before going to work as a criminal prosecutor for the California Attorney General.  As a prosecutor, Tim handled hundreds of felony cases, including precedent-setting cases in victims' rights and constitutional law. 

In 1991, Tim was elected Mayor of Chula Vista where he was known for advancing public safety, affordable housing, educational and recreation programs for youth, and environmental protection.  Tim oversaw expansion of the Chula Vista Police Department and the institution of new anti-crime programs that resulted in a significant reduction in crime.

Following his term as Mayor, Tim worked as an affordable housing developer before returning to the practice of law as a child support attorney.  In 2008, Tim took a position as Deputy Attorney General in the Civil Division of the California Department of Justice, where he handles complex civil litigation on behalf of the state.

In 2010, when Southwestern Community College had its accreditation placed on probationary status in the midst of a corruption scandal, Tim Nader ran for and was elected to its Board.  Known in the community for his fairness and competence, Tim was unanimously chosen on his first night in office to be the new Board President.  Tim worked with college employees, students and Board colleagues to guide the college through this time, cooperating fully with the District Attorney's investigation into the corruption of the previous administration.  The college's accreditation was restored and several officials entered guilty pleas to criminal charges and were removed.  As a college Board member, Tim has supported Southwestern's program of providing college classes to inmates at Donovan State Prison.  This program does NOT reduce sentences, but when individuals are released, they have credit they can apply toward a degree.  The program has been shown to significantly reduce recidivism, making all of us safer.

Tim, whose father and uncle fought in the U.S. military in World War II, deeply appreciates that our freedom would not be possible without our veterans.  As Mayor, Tim started Chula Vista's Veterans Affairs Commission and led the effort to locate a state Veterans' Home in the city.  Tim helped start the Student Veterans Center at Southwestern College and today, Southwestern is nationally recognized as one of the most military-friendly schools in America.

Tim attends church in San Diego.  He has taught classes on the Constitution and criminal justice in local schools.  He remains active in several professional organizations, including the Lawyers Club of San Diego, which is dedicated to promoting gender equality - Tim is honored to be one five men to have served on the Lawyers Club Board. 

Tim lives in his hometown of Chula Vista with his wife Freda and stepdaughter Alexandra.  Tim and Freda, who works for the YMCA assisting disadvantaged youth, are active in their community, supporting organizations that assist college students and promote educational opportunity.

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (1)

  • La Raza Lawyers of San Diego

Elected Officials (17)

  • Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins
  • San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher
  • Chula Vista School Board Member Francisco Tomayo
  • Congressman Juan Vargas
  • Former Senator Christine Kehoe
  • National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis
  • Former San Diego County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price
  • Former Assemblyman Howard Wayne
  • National City School Board Member Barbara Avalos
  • Chula Vista School Board Member Dr, Eduardo Reyes
  • Carlsbad School Board Member Kathy Rallings
  • Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina
  • Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas
  • Oceanside City Councilwoman Esther Sanchez
  • Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez
  • Chula Vista School Board Member Laurie Humphrey
  • Chula Vista City Councilwoman Jill Galvez

Individuals (5)

  • Alara Chilton, Esq.
  • Connie Broussard, Esq.
  • Art Scott
  • Nicole Capretz
  • Dr. J. Luke Wood

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters of San Diego (LWVSD) and the League of Women Voters of North County San Diego (LWVNCSD) (3)

What is the most significant challenge facing the San Diego Superior Court over the next decade, and if you are elected, how will you help to address it?
Answer from Tim Nader:


Perhaps the most significant challenge is lack of meaningful access for those who don’t qualify for free legal representation and who don’t have the means to pay for market-rate representation.  This includes parties with an interest in case outcomes who may not be aware of their rights, or able to arrange their own representation, such as crime victims and children in some cases.  Heavy caseloads combined with the high cost of representation, especially given the generally high cost of living in San Diego, is a barrier to justice for many middle class and working people. 


  I would strive to be aware of the burdens on those who are least able to fend for themselves in our system, or who have special considerations - such as children, veterans and crime victims - and connect them to resources both inside and outside the justice system that can assist them in obtaining just outcomes. I would assure the constitutional rights of crime victims are respected on the same basis as others in the system.  I support the "veterans court" that connects veterans who find themselves in the system to supportive outside services.  I would be conscientious about assuring that children are adequately protected and would welcome their advocates and supporters in the courtroom.  I would work to inform our citizens about our justice system, how it  works, their legal rights, and available resources.




What action (personal or professional) that you have taken most exemplifies how you would execute the duties of the office you are running for?

No answer provided.

Would you say that the San Diego County Bar Association's judicial evaluation of you (see ) is a fair and accurate assessment of your qualifications? If not, which aspects of your experience may have been overlooked or undervalued?

No answer provided.

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (3)

What kinds of cases did you deal with over your career as a practicing lawyer?
Answer from Tim Nader:



Criminal cases:  Hundreds of felony appeals (including capital cases) and felony and misdemeanor trials


Family law:  child support  (six years full-time), including establishment of paternity, support orders and enforcement


For the past 11 years I have been litigating civil cases for the State of California in the areas of tax and business regulation



Overall, do you feel the criminal justice system works fairly and effectively in your county?  If not, why not?
Answer from Tim Nader:

The system works fairly for those with effective representation.  We have good judges who do their best with what we have.  The District Attorney's office does its best to protect the rights of victims as well as to prosecute criminals.  The Public Defender's office does all it can to provide conscientious and professional representation to defendants.  Unfortunately, the District Attorney, the police, the Public Defender, the Probation Department and the courts are all understaffed relative to what would be optimal for protection of the public.  Those without resources and knowledge of the system - victims as well as defendants - are at a disadvantage.  Judges need to be mindful of this, especially when making decisions that will impact our most vulnerable people such as  victims of crime and children.  We need to be ready to connect people with resources outside the traditional parameters of the criminal justice system when that will best serve the future of our community.  Organizations that serve children, veterans, crime victims and others with special considerations need to be utilized to supplement the traditional system so as to obtain the most just, productive and protective outcomes.


Do you think courts do a good job of handling civil cases in your county?  If not, why not?
Answer from Tim Nader:

My experience has been that our courts do a good job of handling civil cases.  The judges are generally knowledgeable, thoughtful and fair.  The biggest problem is backlog caused by too many cases with too few judges.  In certain types of civil cases such as child custody and support, cases with parties in the military, or juvenile matters, it is important that judges be proactive in assuring that those affected by a case are informed and their rights are protected.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

The Constitution is the foundation of our freedom, the source of our civil rights and property rights as Americans.  Judges must first and foremost support and defend the Constitution -  independent of any political concerns, social pressure or bias.  In every office I have held, I have been a passionate defender of the Constitution, including the right of free speech, the right of freedom of religion, the right to equal protection of the law for all people, and the state Constitutional rights of crime victims.

The most important function of government is to protect public safety.  If the public is not protected from street crime, environmental crime and economic crime, it is impossible for government to serve the public.  It is not the function of the courts to decide public policy - I had a role in that as a mayor, and I know the difference very well.  It is the function of the courts to uphold the Constitution and the laws with fairness so that the public can be confident in effective and equal justice.  If the courts do that job well, it becomes much easier for our schools, our police, our community organizations, our churches and our families, to create healthy and prosperous communities.

Position Papers

Youth and Justice


The role of a judge in securing opportunities for our youth while protecting public safety for all

Our courts impact our young people and our community at large in many ways which are not always obvious, but which always matter.  A judge who is mindful of these impacts can have a hugely positive impact on the lives of young people and can contribute to making our communities safer and healthier.  A judge who is unaware can cause significant harm, or miss opportunities to set young people who encounter the justice system on a positive path.

Juvenile Justice:

This is probably what many most commonly think of when they think of young people and the law:  A young person commits a criminal offense and enters the criminal justice system. 

If the offender is over 14 and commits a very serious offense (such as murder), California law provides they can be treated as an adult, so as to better protect the public from violence.  It is the role of judges to implement laws within the Constitution that are passed by the Legislature to protect the public.

However, the vast majority of juvenile offenders are handled by a justice system separate from that for adult offenders.  The experience these young people have can make the difference between getting the guidance and opportunity they need to turn their lives around and become productive citizens, or living lives of alienation, despair, and all too often, crime.

Detention is not always the best answer for minor juvenile offenses.  It is important that judges be aware of alternatives. There are many good programs offered through government services, community non-profit organizations, and faith-based groups that can give young people the non-punitive discipline they may need while offering educational, health, counseling and other services to give them a chance to get their lives on a positive track.  One example is the "Strength-Based Family Approach" of South Bay Community Services, partnering with law enforcement, schools, health providers and other social agencies.

Having been personally very close to adult citizens who were in the system as young people, I know the experience a young person has in the system can change their life for better or worse.  When I was Mayor of Chula Vista, we brought together our Police with our Parks and Recreation Department, non-profit groups and youth leaders to create programs to give disadvantaged youth more options both recreationally and educationally, to develop job and business skills, and to have positive relationships with police officers.  Crime dropped.

By being aware of options and community resources, judges can ensure the system more often plays a positive role in helping troubled young people, and making the entire community safer.

It's Not All About Juvenile Offenders

Young people's lives can be profoundly affected by our court system without any alleged wrongdoing on their part.  Children with special education needs, children without parents, and children caught up in civil disputes can all come before a judge.  Custody and support disputes can produce life-changing consequences for children.  Judges must always be mindful of the impact these proceedings can have on children who are the most vulnerable citizens affected by our courts.  As an attorney who has prosecuted crimes against children and handled hundreds of child support cases, and as a public official who has helped develop programs for youth and worked with youth advocates, I am uniquely qualified to assure that justice is delivered for our young people.


As an attorney I have made presentations in elementary schools, middle schools and high schools to teach about our justice system and our Constitution.  I have personally seen the special impact judges have on young people when they participate in these programs, and I am committed to doing so as a judge.

The way judges decide cases can also have a significant impact on educational opportunity, and safety in our schools.  As a current education official in our community colleges, I have an awareness of the interrelationship between the judiciary and our educational institutions that I will bring with me to the bench.

Crime Victims and Public Safety

All citizens, including young people, are affected by crime.  However, young people are among those most vulnerable to crime, and whose rights must be most vigorously protected when they are victims of crime.

Many people may not know that the California Constitution guarantees certain rights to crime victims in court.  When I was a prosecutor, I handled a number of matters involving crime victims' rights.  In fact, my first two cases as a prosecutor involved the rights of crime victims.  In one of them, a seven year old boy had been sexually assaulted.  The boy had no parents, and his guardian took the side of the perpetrator.  The only adult who this vulnerable boy knew was on his side was his elementary school teacher.  Court can be a strange and intimidating experience for many people, but especially for children.  Over defense objections, we were able to secure his right to have his teacher present with him in court for emotional support.  In the other case, a young girl on a bicycle was hit by a drunk driver who left the scene and was later arrested.  The girl suffered serious injury.  We vindicated the girl's constitutional right to restitution by upholding a condition requiring the drunk driver to make payments to her.  Both these cases demonstrate  the importance of having judges who uphold crime victims' rights, and who are especially sensitive to the needs of child victims.  My experience qualifies me to handle this responsibility with fairness and compassion for young victims.

Children who must testify in court after being victimized by criminals are among the most vulnerable people who become involved in our justice system.  They have already been traumatized by the crime, and court can inflict further trauma if it is not handled with care.  I have no tolerance for the bullying of victims, especially children.

Finally, we must be mindful that the best way to protect our children is to prevent victimization in the first place.  In exercising any discretion the laws and the Constitution give me, I will always be mindful of the safety of our communities and our young people.


Videos (1)

Tim Nader for Judge Seat #30 — February 16, 2020 Ed Wilson

The candidate discusses the importance of judges in people's lives, and his experience as a lawyer and community servant

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