Vote 'No' on retention

The Madison County Record Oct. 22, 2006, 5:09am

To the editor:

Real Court Reform Now is a grass roots committee opposed to the retention of three Madison County Judges: Callis, Romani and Knight, who are seeking the approval of voters for their retention as judges.

We take this stand because these three judges were part of the nine circuit judges in Madison County that biased the court in favor of plaintiff attorneys and against doctors and small businesses. They attracted lawyers from throughout the country seeking the lawsuit-happy climate known to exist in Madison County.

This bias resulted in a significant loss of doctors in Madison County, a loss of businesses willing to start up in Madison County, with a consequent loss of jobs for working people.

The Madison County Court has earned and maintains a national reputation as a "judicial hellhole" during the tenure of Callis, Romani and Knight. This reputation is undisputed. Plaintiff attorneys while earning millions of dollars in Madison County civil suits have rewarded these same judges with large donations.

While the courts have stated that campaign contributions are protected speech under the 1st Amendment, it is fair to wonder why contributions in the thousands of dollars are routinely given to judges who have no challenger for their jobs. What is expected of judges who accept huge donations from the lawyers who appear in front of them?

The retention vote, every six years for circuit judges, is the only opportunity for the public to approve a judge's conduct. For most judges, these elections are routine and result in another term on the bench. Rarely do judges step so far out of line as to earn the distinction of creating a "judicial hellhole." The only remedy available to us is to vote against retaining these judges.

Real Court Reform Now urges voters to take the opportunity to take back our Court, to bring back doctors who have fled Madison County, to begin the recovery of the jobs and businesses that have left or avoided Madison County.

We urge you to vote against retention of these three judges. Send a message to the judges that we demand fairness in court proceedings and self restraint in accepting campaign contributions where obvious conflicts of interest appear.

Vote NO for the retention of the three Madison County judges on Nov. 7, 2006.

Bob Hulme
Chairman, Real Court Reform Now

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