Positions & Issues 

Judicial Philosophy

Follow the law as written. The Legislative Branch is responsible for writing the law. That power comes from the people. The Judicial Branch is only supposed to follow and apply that law the best that it can. It is not up to a judge to make law from the bench. I am against, in the strongest possible terms, Judicial Activism. I have a great number of personal beliefs that make up and affect the person I am and how I view things, however, my feelings or beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with following the laws of the land. It is not up to the judge to pick and choose which laws they agree with and which they don’t. We swear an oath to follow the law, and that I will do. I am like am umpire at a baseball game, I didn’t invent the rules; I only call balls and strikes, applying the rules as they are set out before me, regardless of outcomes.

Criminal Law

I believe we have crises in this country. Drug addiction is affecting every family, including my own. The opioid epidemic and crystal methamphetamine have torn the fabric of our communities apart. I have spent the last 20 years helping the poorest among us navigate the legal system.

We need judges that recognize the need for aggressive treatment and supervision of these addicts. At the same time, we need to punish sufficiently those who are pushing these drugs on our communities and taking advantage of the desperate people they call clients. The use of Drug Courts and Veteran Courts will allow us to continue to help those who help themselves with aggressive sentencing that puts a premium on drug addiction rehabilitation and punishment for those who sell drugs and are repeat offenders.

Civil Law

Our civil docket is a mess in the First District. Cases have been stagnant for too long. As Circuit Court Judge, I will aggressively set civil trials much the same way as they do in Federal Court. Once you file a lawsuit, we will meet with the attorneys and come up with a timeline that everyone can abide by and will be accountable to by me. The cases will be quickly set for trial and will be heard within months, not years as it is now.

I will seldom deny an agreed motion of any kind by counsel and will never force a continuance on counsel on my motion absent a serious scheduling conflict. My goal is to move cases. People deserve to be heard. The trauma caused by lawsuits for both the plaintiff and defendant is significant. They deserve justice and for their cases to be concluded as quickly as possible, both those who have a claim and those who have been accused.

Frivolous Lawsuits

The problem with frivolous lawsuits is the lack of consequences for those who file them. I believe Rule 11 Sanctions to be an appropriate remedy for those who would callously use the civil justice system for fishing expeditions or personal retribution. I believe the laws are such now to prevent most of these from occurring, but will stand ready to dispose of any such lawsuits in my court and hold the attorneys and clients personally responsible for their actions.

Treat all with respect: I will never forget the 20 years I spent in private practice. I know what it is like to have to make payroll, interact with clients, manage busy schedules, and interact with opposing attorneys. I promise to treat all attorneys with the dignity they deserve for their profession. This also applies to clerks, bailiffs, staff and defendants/claimants who deserve the same respect that I wish to be treated. We all have a job to do and I will not waste your time or mine with grandstanding or unneeded questioning. I will be fast, efficient and organized. I expect the attorneys practicing in my court to do the same.

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