Amanda Benjamin was appointed as a Circuit Court Judge Pro Tempore by the Oregon Supreme Court in December 2018 and began working in that capacity for the Lincoln County Circuit Court on January 2, 2019. She has since remained in that role.
Lincoln County suffered a great loss with the medical leave and medical retirement of Judge Paulette Sanders, who, in addition to her many other responsibilities, was the juvenile dependency and delinquency judge.
When Judge Sanders began to take medical leave in early 2019, Benjamin stepped up to handle her docket despite this involving more responsibilities than are typically required of a pro tem judge.
“I did this because I recognized that Lincoln County needed a judge with knowledge of both criminal and juvenile law to provide consistency to these cases,” Benjamin said. “I have been dedicated to making sure the courts run as smoothly as possible in her absence, but also to improving the courts in every way that I can in the process.”
In the fall of 2019, Benjamin spearheaded the effort to bring a mental health court back to Lincoln County and coordinated with community partners to make this happen. With the help and support of community partners she began Mental Health Court officially on February 4, 2020.
When Judge Sanders retired in September 2019, Benjamin made clear her desire to remain in that role and filed for election to her seat with the full support of Presiding Judge Thomas Branford, Judge Sheryl Bachart and Judge Sanders.
“Unfortunately, Governor Brown appointed someone else to this position,” Benjamin said. “While I respect the office of the Governor, I do not believe that the Governors' decision reflected what is best for Lincoln County. I am fortunate to have the continued support of those who I have worked closest with on and off the bench including Judge Branford, Judge Bachart, Judge Sanders, staff, community partners, attorneys and members of our community.”
Benjamin will continue to serve Lincoln County as a Judge Pro Tempore and currently she serves as an employee of the Oregon Judicial Department rather than as an independent elected official responsible to the voters.
“My current position is also a limited duration position that is subject to available funding each year,” Benjamin said. “Being elected as a Circuit Court Judge will ensure my ability to provide long-term dedicated service to Lincoln County.
“It has been a great honor to have served on the Lincoln County bench for over a year now and to have had the opportunity to show the voters of Lincoln County exactly what they will see in me as an elected Circuit Court Judge.”
Benjamin encourages anyone interested in her candidacy to speak to individuals that work with the courts about her and her time on the bench.
“Lincoln County deserves to have the best candidate in this seat and I would not be asking for your support if I was not that candidate,” Benjamin said.
Learn more about the campaign at BenjaminForJudge.com.
Statement of Judge Sheryl Bachart: "If Amanda Benjamin is elected circuit judge she will become one of the best judges our bench has ever known. She is that talented. She has the support of Judge Branford, Retired Judge Sanders and myself because Lincoln County deserves a judge of her caliber.”
Statement of Judge Thomas Branford: “Amanda Benjamin is one of the very best attorneys I have encountered in my 46 years in the legal profession. In addition, for over one year now, she has served as a full-time Pro-Tem Circuit Judge. She has done that with great integrity and respect for all who come into the courtroom. In a word, she is simply extraordinary. She has earned our support in the upcoming election for Circuit Court Judge. Please join me in voting for her.”