Election season is upon us, and there’s more to it than judging Donald Trump’s latest antics and email conspiracies from Hillary Clinton. Key word here: judging.
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Unless a voter comes into contact with a judge for trial, it’s safe to say that there is very little chance that that same voter will know the pros and cons of these judges. Meanwhile both criminal and civil case attorneys interact with judges on a regular basis. So why is it that the everyday voter has the power to be a part of the 60 percent needed in order for a judge to be elected to office?
There are only three nations who have judicial elections: the United States, Switzerland and Japan. But unlike a presidential election, American voters just don’t have the same kind of interactions and media presence to narrow down who would be the best choice. Of course there are exceptions to the rule.
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The reaction from Judge Amber Wolf in Kentucky made the media rounds when a woman was brought to court after being refused both a jail jumpsuit and feminine hygiene products. Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams has a few more voters’ eyes on him due to the Freddie Gray case. The criminal case of Cook County law clerk Rhonda Crawford and Judge Valarie Turner, and election officials not appealing a “write-in campaign,” made more voters take notice of these two. (The law clerk was terminated after the “shadowing” incident.)
But can voters on average think of five other judges off of the tops of their heads? Probably not. So again, why are they allowed to vote for judges that they will barely have any direct interaction with? One of the most ideal reasons to do so is just that: no harboring bias. They can walk into a ballot box without memories of past cases lost, past cases won and feelings of guilt if they do not vote for someone who may not be the best choice. With that said though, would it make more sense for lawyers to vote for new and continuing judges anyway?
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About the writer: Shamontiel L. Vaughn is part of a co-writing team with Johnetta Paye, Esq. To find out the latest legal business tips in business, entertainment and real estate news, visit here.