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Top Stories for August 18, 2010
Fredonia Justice of the Peace election
1. Why are you running for this office?
2. What skills, talents, or education would you bring to the Court if elected?
3. What do you think would be the biggest challenge if you held this office?
4. How would you deal with friends or relatives that you know if they come before you in a civil or criminal case?
5. What changes would you make if elected?
6. What is your opinion about plea agreements?
7. What do you perceive the position of Justice of the Peace is all about?
8. Final statement.
1) Being Justice of the Peace in Fredonia allows me to serve the residents of Fredonia and Coconino County in helping people with protective orders and injunctions when needed; ensuring that people are held accountable for criminal and civil actions; helping them put their lives in order to become productive citizens through a variety of cognitive restructuring courses, probation requirements, counseling and jail when necessary.
2) I’ve been in leadership positions throughout my life in the Court, Forest Service, town, and church, and have managed large programs and supervised many people.
I’ve developed a love for Fredonia citizens, and have taken a personal interest in listening to them and being able to help them however I can.
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Police Science from Weber State College (University), which included law classes, management, public administration, psychology, criminology and sociology. I’ve also graduated from many courses provided by the Arizona Judicial College specific to being a judge in Arizona.
3) The biggest challenge is to maintain and improve services while the budget is declining. The credibility and personal contacts, which put me in a position to be elected Presiding Justice of the Peace for the county, will be valuable in helping us meet this challenge.
The other continuing challenge is learning and keeping up with changes to the Arizona laws, case law and Rules of the Court.
4) In a contested case, I would “recuse” myself (step down and have an impartial judge hear it), to avoid any appearance of favoritism. This is a common practice where the Moccasin Consolidated Court, Fredonia Magistrate Court, this court and Page Justice Court hear cases for each other to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
5) Continue working on projects to provide more county services to Fredonia through the use of courthouse facilities. I want to make other county departments more available through video-conferencing, which will be available at the Court within the next few months.
Having the county attorney come to Fredonia to prosecute cases involving local residents, who are either victims of crime or defendants, has been my goal for a long time. This also involves the Public Defender’s and Sheriff’s Office, and has been the subject of negotiations for quite a while.
Improve court security, so people can be confident of their safety when here.
6) I have come to appreciate the plea agreement system as an opportunity for both the state and defendant to move on. Plea agreements often appear to let someone off too easily. However, probation and other conditions are generally included, which must be met. This usually ensures the defendant stays out of trouble and is turning his life around. In the long term, we are looking for compliance with the law. If the defendant violates his plea agreement, the original charges are reinstated or probation conditions stiffened to protect the community.
I have gained great respect for both the County Attorney’s office and Public Defender’s office. Both groups are interested in doing what is right and not just after a conviction or acquittal. They provide due process for all involved while working well together and with the Court.
7) The Justice of the Peace is, with traditions going back to colonial times, still the “Court of the People.” The JP, being a lay citizen, is elected to serve the people, settle disputes, keep the peace in a community and historically, perform marriages. Justice Court handles civil and criminal cases through the preliminary hearing phase, which would otherwise have to be heard by the Superior Court in Flagstaff. It’s the judicial link between Fredonia citizens and the Flagstaff county seat. It’s the only county position that is elected by the small number of people living in this corner of Coconino County. I have found that it is an important position that has the opportunity to look out for the rights of the people, to ensure that they have the same judicial due process and services as everyone else in the County.
8) I have enjoyed serving during the past eight years as your Justice of the Peace. I have taken your trust very seriously and endeavored to live up to your expectations, as your elected JP and in my personal life.
When we moved here in 1976, we wanted to become active in the community. We purchased property close to the center of town, and have enjoyed living and raising our family with you. I feel comfortable as a neighbor and appreciate your friendship.
It’s unfortunate, that when I make an official judgment, half of the people are unhappy with it; and in some cases, no one is happy with the decision. I try to treat everyone with dignity and respect and make the best decisions that I can, within the law. I will be the first to admit that I’ve made mistakes, but I have recognized them and tried to make the changes necessary to avoid making them again. The opportunity to serve you has been a great experience and helped me to make positive changes in my life. I hope I’ve also made a positive difference in the lives of those who have come to Court.
Officially, this Court is not designated as full time, due to the small workload. It is great to be able to take the time each case personally deserves. When filling in for the JP in Flagstaff last year, I handled about 50 or 60 cases, which included evictions, in about four hours. I’m in awe of judges who do that on a daily basis, and am grateful I don’t have to do it that way in Fredonia. Each case can have a major impact on someone’s life and I take that responsibility seriously. I’ve always felt I owed each of you the most knowledgeable and thorough services I could provide. While that does not mean that I am always at the Court from 8 to 5, I often work late into the evenings and on weekends to provide the service I believe is expected.
I will appreciate your vote on August 24 on the Republican primary ballot. Since no one from another party is running, the winner of the primary election will be running unopposed in the general election. I hope to be able to serve you in this capacity for another four-year term.
With the support of my wife, staff and community, I may even run for another term. I can think of no better way I can serve the community and no other way I would enjoy as much. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you!
1) I am running for this office because I love Fredonia. The people living there have contributed too much of who I am today, and I would like to repay them by serving them as their Justice Court Judge.
2) I have a wide range of skills and education that qualify me for the Justice Court. First, Fredonia has been home to me since 1956, and I am connected to the people here. Second, I have an educational background, which includes two bachelors degrees, one in sociology and one in psychology. I have also been teaching school for over fifteen years. I have been a director of a youth program. While employed with Page Unified School District, I developed and ran the off campus suspension program. I am a graduate of the Utah Peace Officers Training program, (P.O.S.T.) I also have a Master’s degree in Counseling, and am a licensed general contractor.
3) I think the biggest challenge would come after hearing arguments from all parties concerned in a case, and then determining the sentence.
4) I would deal with them much the same way I dealt with raising my children. I loved them, but I did not take the consequences of their actions from them, good or bad. In a very serious case, I would have another judge hear the case.
5) I would improve the communication between the different law agencies and the Justice Court. This would better serve the accused, the accuser and the people of Fredonia.
6) Plea agreements are for the convenience of the Court. I feel people cited to the Court should be judged for the citation issued.
7) I feel the Justice of the Peace is a servant of the people, for the people, and should insure the rights of the people are not violated, and that law and order is maintained.
8) If elected Justice of the Peace, I pledge to be of service to the people of Fredonia, especially those brought before the Court. I would work hard to ensure their rights are not violated and to maintain the rule of law.