Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00
I voted on Nov. 5, but not for any judges. That’s because I felt I had no relevant facts upon which to base my votes.
We voters would not all be voters who have little idea whom we’re voting for if the Anton election supplement, or the League of Women Voters, or the ads and mailings of incumbent judges running for re-election would simply provide us with facts about their record as judges. With legislators, their voting records are public knowledge; but not so with judges. These men and women, who have to be addressed as “Your Honor” and have to be stood up for whenever they enter the courtroom, seem to have their own records sealed and secret.
Why couldn’t Anton’s pre-election pullout have told us about incumbent criminal court judges’ sentencing records from public trials with facts and stats. Why can’t you tell us what percentage of each judge’s sentences were probations, suspended sentences or community service only? How often did he or she merely fine a convicted criminal some nominal sum of money but leave him or her free to commit additional crimes affecting even more innocent victims? What percentage of his sentences were for the maximum number of years in prison allowed by law; and what percentage for the minimum?
How many times has each judge’s rulings been reversed/overruled/overturned by appeals courts? How many times have his improper jury instructions required a second (expensive) trial? Give us information that will enable us to see which judges seem to have more sympathy for the perpetrators and their families than for the victims and theirs. Allow us to judge which candidates are lenient, and which are law-and-order. We need evidence. We can do a better job with our voting if you provide us with more and better information about the candidates whose ads tell us nothing about their judicial records or even their philosophies.