Voting for Judges is Really Important

2014 is an off year election year. Many question whether it is worth bothering to vote. If there are people running for judge in your jurisdiction, you should educate yourself on the qualifications and temperament of the candidates and vote.

Why? Judges often have more power over the quality of your life and the life of your community than many elected officials. For example:

In your personal life, judges can decide whether you have custody of your children, how often you see your children, how much child support you will pay, what property you retain from your marriage, whether you pay spousal support; how much and for what duration.

Judges can determine whether you or someone you care about can manage his/her own financial affairs or is competent to make their own life decisions.

Judges can overrule local zoning authorities and determine what land uses are permitted.

Judges can determine whether you have committed a crime and whether you will go to jail.

Judges can rule on business disputes and determine whether one business owner owes another damages or whether a non-compete clause is enforceable.

The list of examples of a judge's authority is endless. There is no phase of your life over which they do not have power.

Local judges have more influence over your private and business life and over the quality of life in your community than any other elected officials. Who sits on the district, probate and circuit court bench is extremely important.

In some communities people often vote for the incumbent judges unless there has been a major scandal. While there are many hard-working, knowledgeable and dedicated judges, there are also people appointed or elected to the bench who have little knowledge of the areas of law they are adjudicating. Some have been on the bench too long and are tired, not healthy or burned out.

While a large slate is confusing, you can ask attorneys who appear in front of these judges often for the recommendations. All judges are lawyers. If they are running for the first time, they may have former clients. If they served as magistrates before running for judge, there are people who have appeared before them. Talk to your friends or acquaintances who have been to court and ask them about their experiences.

One day your future or the future of your community will rest with a judge. Do your part to elect a strong bench. Educate yourself and vote.

Categories: Family Law Blog