Judge Who Convicted Moshe Katsav Joins Race for Supreme Court Seat

Tomer Zarchin
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Tomer Zarchin

Tel Aviv District Court Judge George Karra, who headed the panel that convicted former President Moshe Katsav, is joining the race for the Supreme Court.

Last night, just before the list of candidates for the Supreme Court was closed, a few additional names were added. These include Jerusalem District Court Judge Orit Efaal-Gabay, Tel Aviv District Court judges Yitzhak Inbar and Anat Baron and attorney Eyal Rosovsky.

Supreme Court Justice George Karra, who was sworn in on day his relative Henriette, 18, was murderedCredit: Tal Cohen

Prof. Boaz Sangero, a prominent expert in criminal law from Sapir College, has also joined the race.

Karra, a Christian resident of Jaffa, is the most prominent new candidate and a highly respected judge. He was appointed to the magistrate's court in 1989 and has been serving as a district court judge since 2000.

Karra is known as a hard-working, meticulous and thorough judge who familiarizes himself with the tiniest details of the cases he hears. Despite his years as a defense attorney, Karra is seen as a judge who doesn't acquit easily and hands down stringent sentences.

Karra was the judge who convicted Maariv's former owner, Ofer Nimrodi, of illegal wiretapping via a plea bargain.

He also convicted the members of the Hariri crime family and sentenced them to long prison terms. Following that trial, bodyguards were assigned to Karra for a long time for fear of revenge attacks.

In the case against Katsav, whom he sent to prison for seven years, Karra took a hard line that upset the defense attorneys. Among other things, they criticized him for deciding that hearings would be held four days a week, against their wishes. Karra was also blasted by the former president's attorneys for refusing to let them summon certain witnesses.

Efaal-Gabay, of whom Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch thinks highly, is another leading candidate. After clerking for the Supreme Court, she served as assistant to the Finance Ministry's legal adviser, deputy state prosecutor and registrar of the Supreme Court. She was appointed to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court in 1995 and promoted to the district court in 2003.

The new candidates expected to be announced Thursday will be added to the list that was published last week, consisting of judges Yosef Elron, Baruch Azulay, Avraham Avraham, Yitzhak Cohen, Binyamin Arnon, Uri Shoham and Michael Agmon Cohen. The full list will then be officially published next week, 30 days before the Judicial Appointments Committee meets to discuss any objections from the public to the candidates.

The committee is expected to convene on January 6 to choose three new Supreme Court justices.