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An Open Letter to the Santa Cruz County Community

Dear Friends,

Thank you to the hundreds of folks who have supported me throughout my 38 years of public service. Serving for more than a decade on the bench has been a great privilege.

District Attorney Art Danner recruited me in 1997 to join the DA’s homicide division. Coming from a similar position on the East Coast, the move to Santa Cruz County was a wonderful opportunity to utilize my prosecutorial skills, and contribute to our community’s safety. Serving in the courtroom, seeking justice and being the last voice of the victim was truly an honor. I tried some of the most challenging and complex murder cases this county has seen. As Chief Deputy District Attorney and Head of the Homicide Unit in Santa Cruz County, I am proud of having never lost a criminal case in our county.

As a judge, I have been described as tough but fair. Since January 2009, I have seen many lives made better through the creative sentencing I instituted in my courtroom. Allowing qualified defendants to get credit for their fines by attending community college or receiving job training has resulted in changing many defendants’ lives for the better.

The business of justice demands respect and I have always had high standards in my courtroom. The Commission on Judicial Performance recently censured me. I am heart-warmed by the outpouring of support from judges, attorneys and leading community members who disagree with the Commission and who have soundly criticized their analysis.

As I have moved toward re-election to a third term, hundreds of community members from across our county have supported my efforts. I am proud to have earned endorsements from many public officials and community members from across the political spectrum. Generous donors have contributed more than $100,000 towards my re-election. This is more than has been raised by any judicial candidate in the history of our community.

I am confident that I would win.

Recently, however, several factors have caused me to think deeply about my future. I was injured in a sports-related activity and am now facing a major surgery. Last month a dear friend, only a few years older than I, passed away just after she retired. Last week a friend’s daughter died. After 38 years in the legal profession, the prospect of another 6-year term as a judge does not actually bring me joy.

It is time for me to switch gears.

At this point in my life, I wish to focus my personal energy on engaging in our community in ways other than being on the bench – building on the support I have provided to a wide variety of local causes and organizations. I will continue to serve on the bench until my term expires at the end of 2020.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who have been so supportive of my work as a prosecutor and as a judge.

My very best to all, and blessings on our wonderful community.


Thank you,

Ari Symons


Paid for by Ariadne "Ari" Symons for Judge
343 Soquel Avenue, #137
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
FPPC #1419781

Treasurer Fred Keeley
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