Apr. 26—There are five candidates seeking the Democratic and Republican nominations in the primary for two judgeships on
The attorneys are seeking to fill two vacancies on the bench. Judge
Competing on both ballots are
Judges serve for 10 years, then must run for retention. The position pays
We asked the candidates to respond to two questions:
Question 1: Why do you feel you are qualified to sit on the bench in
Question 2: What, if any, do you perceive as the greatest obstacles to justice?
Background: Boyd received an undergraduate degree from
Response 1: For the past 24 years, I have had the privilege to practice in all areas of the court. My passion and desire has always been in helping and serving the families and children of
With that being said, I have dedicated the majority of my career to the family law division. As a family law litigator, representing people from all walks of life, I am intimately familiar with the inner workings of a courtroom, wherein I handle cases before the court several times a week.
It is my belief that to be an effective judge it is necessary to understand how decisions made from the bench affect peoples' lives and this community. This is where life experience as a judge is invaluable. My upbringing has definitely laid the foundation for my wisdom, commonsense values and compassion for others, which will serve me well as a judge.
Having been raised by my grandmother on a farm since I was 13 months old, I learned strong work values and a good moral compass. At the age of 5, I testified before a judge in front of my mother and grandmother as to where I wanted to live. This experience has left vivid memories even today and I am thankful for the decision made by the judge. My legal experience, life experiences, integrity and dedication to the families and children of this community are the reasons why I am qualified to serve as a judge to this county.
Response 2: In my opinion, there are three main obstacles to justice in our court system.
The first obstacle is the cost of legal representation. There are several services used in this county to assist indigent and lower income litigants in obtaining legal counsel/advice. Some of these programs include: MidPenn Legal Services, the Pro Bono Program, the Modest Means Program and the Lawyer Referral Service.
As a judge, with unrepresented parties, it is the responsibility of the court to provide suggested resources to eliminate confusion and helplessness. Obviously, anyone has the right to represent themselves, but it is usually not recommended. It is more efficient and cost effective for the taxpayers when parties are represented by counsel.
The second obstacle to justice is the lack of knowledge or education as to the court system and individual rights. This goes hand and hand with obtaining representation. When a party is represented, they are more informed about the process and their legal rights.
The third obstacle to justice are social determinants, such as addiction and mental health issues. The treatment courts in
In summary, I think
Background: Deming has his own law firm where he specializes in civil litigation, municipal law, unemployment compensation and post-conviction advocacy. He also served as managing director for former
Response 1: I have the experience, work ethic and integrity.
Experience: I have practiced virtually every area of the law: criminal jury trials; civil jury trials; probate; municipal; divorce; custody. You name it. I've done it. But more importantly, I have experience outside the courtroom. I worked three years as a public school teacher, and I've also worked as the managing director for the
Work ethic: The public needs judges who will work hard. Fellow lawyers know I have a solid work ethic because they've seen that I am always prepared for court and that my work products are solid. I'm the guy who stays after
Integrity: I will not punish anyone because they have money, and I will not punish anyone if they are broke. Everyone will get the same fair treatment. I'm not going to treat you better or worse because of your last name, where you live, or who you know. In that vein, I'm going to treat everyone in my courtroom with courtesy and respect. I will not raise my voice. I will not be sarcastic. With me, you're going to get a judge with the demeanor of
Response 2: Money is the greatest obstacle in the justice system as it presently exists. The old joke of "How much justice can you afford?" should be relegated to the past. To the extent that the law allows it, I shall see to it that the necessity of having money to get a good result is minimized. We need an even playing field.
Another barrier that the court system needs to improve upon is language. We must make sure that anyone who does not speak or understand English well is still able to participate and be heard. We can do this by making better use of technology and translation services.
Finally, our court system needs to do more with those who are hamstrung with mental health issues. We need to start by recognizing this for what it is and responding with compassion and resisting the temptation to label those folks as unhelpable because they are "crazy."
Background: Gavin is a partner at the
Response 1: The essential qualifications of a judge are integrity, character, experience and legal competence and ability. I have practiced law for more than 32 years. Within that time, I have engaged in an extraordinarily large number of cases and types of law.
My career began in the
I have a master's of law degree specifically related to trying cases, and I have taught at the law school level. Additionally, I have been active in the community having served on the board of directors of Safe Berks, the
Finally, I am the only candidate who has been rated "AV Preeminent" by my peers. This national distinction is given to attorneys who are ranked at the highest level of professional excellence for their legal expertise, communication skills and ethical standards.
Judges have both the professional and moral duty to ensure that justice exists for all and that everyone has access to the courts. In order to remove obstacles to justice, we must take all reasonable steps to make sure that everyone has a fair opportunity to be heard in the courts of law.
Every day our judges are charged with the difficult duty of making sense of the senseless, adding meaning to the meaningless, and providing balance to the unbalanced. This duty cannot be fulfilled unless everyone has equal access to the courts. In our government, judges are not lawmakers or policymakers. Nor should they be. Their job is to apply the law. In order to do that, they must make certain the courts are open to everyone who needs them. Failing to do so would not only be an obstacle to justice, it would be justice denied.
Background: Geishauser primarily practices criminal defense law. He began his legal career as a law clerk for
Response 1: I have been blessed with the education, experience, work ethic and temperament to serve
I received a degree in accounting from
I started my career as an intern for federal bankruptcy Judge
I have primarily focused on criminal defense work since that time, handling state and federal felony and misdemeanor matters as well as criminal homicide cases. However, I have also handled cases in a variety of areas including civil law, family law and even adverse possession and eminent domain. I have litigated at every level of court in
Response 2: Economic disparity and political bias.
My father-in-law, business partner and mentor was the first public defender in
Political bias has recently become an issue with judges legislating from the bench. This is something that would never happen with me. If elected I will apply the law to the facts, I will uphold the constitution and I will treat everyone with dignity and respect.
Background: Nadirov has been primarily practicing family and criminal defense law as a partner of the
Response 1: I grew up in
I spent nine years as a prosecutor in the
I continue to use this training in my private practice and as a court appointed guardian ad litem; an expert qualified by the court to render opinions regarding the best interest of children in custody, dependency, civil, delinquency and criminal cases. I currently practice primarily in family and criminal law. My criminal law work particularly provides me with consistent trial and litigation practice.
Response 2: I believe the greatest obstacles to justice today are the lack of access to the court system and the perceived inability to be heard.
Our community needs to trust that someone will listen genuinely, caringly and respectfully. It is up to the people who work within the justice system, and for our judges to truly hear the voice of the public.
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