The judiciary is in a tricky place. Do we elect or appoint? Certainly there's an argument against lifetime appointment, and that argument is complacency, but judges should uphold the law, which sometimes means they make unpopular decisions.
This judge is facing a pretty tough election. I'll admit, the first read-through I thought he was a slimeball who should have listened to the mother. And maybe he is. But maybe he's seen a lot of these cases, and in all the rest of them the mother said the same thing and he did the same thing and everything was fine. It was just this time that the father killed his child.
But let's talk about electing vs. appointing, not the case. A judge is supposed to follow the law as it is written or as it has been interpreted. He is not supposed to play favorites. He is not supposed to be biased. He is not supposed to be making campaign promises, in my mind. I do not think requiring judges to run for election accomplishes much of anything worthwhile. All it does is force judges to compromise their judicial integrity.
Some states have elections for judges where voters either say yay or nay to the incumbent, but does require campaigning. That's much better. However, my take is that people don't even know what the judge has done. They don't know the facts behind his rulings; they definitely don't know the law.
Maybe somebody should consider a judge's rulings and if they are legally sound, but it should be somebody who would know.