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Judges: Experience That Matters.

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2014 | Judges

We have a run off election on July 22nd in a number of important races, some for U.S Senate, some for U.S. House, some for State School Superintendent, but the most important races are the races for Superior Court Judge.

In Cobb County we have two fine attorneys, Judge Juanita Stedman and prosecutor Ann Harris. Judge Stedman has been a judge for over 13 years in the Cobb Juvenile Court, where not only does she rule on juvenile court cases but also, one week each month, she sits by designation as a Cobb County Superior Court Judge.  Prosecutor Harris works in the District Attorney’s office where she has been prosecuting felonies for years.  She has probably prosecuted every kind of crime there is in those years.  Now, she’s looking for a whole new job.

I know both women.  For what they do, I like both women.  But when I’m looking for a judge, Judge Stedman has my support.

Imagine if you have a job opening and one of the applicants is someone who has been doing that job for 13 years and doing it exceptionally well.  Odds are you’d be quite dim witted to not hire the person who had already done quite well for 13 years. 

Imagine if the job were for a brain surgeon and you could hire someone who had steadfastly and deftly handled brain surgeries for 13 years or someone who always responded appropriately when the call came for “scalpel.”  I think I’d hire the doctor who had performed 13 years worth of operations, not the attendant who had only watched it done.

A judge is supposed to judge.  That’s kind of the core requirement.  If you think about the scales of justice, that is the judge.  Those scales are balanced. That’s how our justice system works.  Now imagine someone who wants to be a judge, who has never done it before and who has always and only come down hard on one side of those scales.  Someone with that disposition, firmly implanted after years of hard core prosecuting, does not have a balanced scale, rather, it is extremely imbalanced.  The justice system will not work.

And finally, Superior Court judges judge on many kinds of cases.  They have exclusive jurisdiction over felony crimes, yes, but that is less than half of what they do.  They also have exclusive jurisdiction over family law matters and matters involving real property such as your very home.  They also hear cases on just about every other issue known to human kind.  If you can name it, odds are they hear it.

So when a prosecutor tells you that she has experience and, contrasting it with a Juvenile Court judge who has sat as a Superior Court Judge for over 13 years, the prosecutor’s experience is “Experience that matters,” what she is out right telling you is that only criminal law matters.  If you need a competent, fair judge to hear a divorce or a child custody case, too bad.  That doesn’t matter.  If you need a competent, fair judge to decide a dispute over land or homes, too bad. That doesn’t matter. If you need a competent, fair judge to decide critical election matters, oh well. That doesn’t matter.  Personal injury, piffle. Employment discrimination, worthless fodder.

For Prosecutor Harris, the only experience that matters is criminal law.  That’s the only experience she’s got.  Nothing else is worth her time of day.

Cobb County does not need a judge who believes that only criminal law matters.

Cobb County needs a judge who knows the job, who has performed it excellently for more than a decade and who understands that everything that Superior Court Judges are called upon to decide, matters.  

Judge Juanita Stedman has the experience that matters.  All of it.

For the sake of our County, for the sake of the justice system, for the sake of our citizens, I’m asking you to vote for Judge Stedman in this election run off.

Michael Manely