Saturday, October 11, 2008

The 179th District Court Judicial Race

The race for the 179th District Court features 20 year veteran Judge Mike Wilkinson as the Republican Candidate against Democratic challenger Randy Roll. (NOTE: There were some technical difficulties when I tried to link to Judge Wilkinson's website, so I just linked to the District Courts page. I think that stat photo was taken in 1982).

I served as a Felony Two in the 179th District Court for several months, and I got to know both Judge Wilkinson and his court staff. It was a great court to work in.

Judge Wilkinson is one of those folks that has such a brilliant intellect that it is almost frightening. He is actually quite amazing in his knowledge of the law and when considering a legal ruling, it seems like you can actually see him going through the data banks in his head for the right answer.

Do you know the kind of smarts I'm talking about here? Like one of those types of guys that could play a chess match entirely in his head.

During trial, he keeps his own detailed notes of the testimony in "real time" as it is occurring. And I mean really detailed notes.

And Judge Wilkinson has a sense of humor. That may not seem like the most valuable asset that for a Judge on a Criminal Court bench, necessarily, but when a prosecutor is assigned to a court every day, it is certainly a bonus to have a pleasant work environment.

He's a great judge, not to mention a great person.

Unfortunately, Judge Wilkinson has suffered through some criticism over the years due to the time table he keeps on running his docket. It is true that he rarely gets to court before 10:00 a.m. or later.

And that has always been the single largest criticism about him.

The counter-point to that criticism is that Judge Wilkinson will also work late into the night and stays later than most judges. Around the Office, when a Judge is needed to sign a warrant or a dismissal in the late afternoon or early evening, the most likely person to be found will be Judge Wilkinson.

Was it annoying on occasion to deal with the Judge's time-table? Sure, it was.

Was it annoying enough to negate what a great judge he is otherwise? Not even close.

In addition to his regular duties on the 179th bench, Judge Wilkinson is also one of the 4 judges who volunteers his or her time with the STAR Court Program.

He is a compassionate man and an excellent judge.

His Democratic opposition in this race is Defense Attorney Randy Roll.

Randy has run for Judicial election in what seems like every election year since I've been working around the CJC (much like Lloyd Oliver). His own website mentions that he's "gained voters over the past 3 elections".

I suppose that is one way to look at it. Another way of looking at it is that he's been rejected for the possibility of judge now three times.

My dealings with Randy Roll as a defense attorney were quite some time ago, and were not impressive. There are a great many defense attorneys that have the respect and admiration of prosecutors in the D.A.'s Office.

Sadly, Randy does not enjoy that reputation.

Under the idea of "not saying anything when you have nothing nice to say", I will just leave it at that.

Just suffice it to say that if there is a voter out there who think that Judge Wilkinson's schedule is a problem, please believe me in saying that Randy Roll is not the solution.

Judge Wilkinson is an excellent judge and he's getting my vote. This one shouldn't even be close.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am sorry, but there is no excuse for showing up at 11:00 a.m. It shows a lack of respect for other people's time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for the information about the candidates - I am finding it very helpful in deciding who to vote for.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, someone else beat me to it. There is absolutely no excuse for regularly showing up at 11:00 am or later. I find it interesting that you praise Judge Devon Anderson (a judge who regularly shows up on time)for having low docket numbers and cite that as a sign of an effective court but you give Judge Wilkinson a pass for wasting so many people's time. Can you say, efficiency?

Notwithstanding his brilliant intellect, his behavior is neither the sign of an effective court nor of a considerate person. All of the incumbent judges in the previously profiled races can make it on time but somehow Judge Wilkinson can't? Everyone else on the court staff can make it on time but he still can't?

He needs to read Canon 3 B(9) of the Code of Judicial Conduct:
A judge should dispose of all judicial matters promptly, efficiently and fairly.

In spite of all that I am not eager to see "Judge Roll" take the bench in January.

UHlaw90 said...

When Judge Devon Anderson was the Chief A.D.A. in the 179th several years ago the 179th had one of the lowest dockets at the time- go back and check the numbers. Each successive Chief has sent the numbers skyward, with the current Chief taking the numbers to record highs. Judge Wilkinson arrived at the same time when Judge Anderson was Chief as he does now. The lack of "efficiency" has more to do with the current Chief than the Judge's arrival time.

Anonymous said...

UhLaw90, I have to totally disagree with your assessment. His current chief dropped the docket almost down to 450 by getting Judge Wilkinson to speed up the settings. But, when the defense bar began to complain about that because Judge Wilkinson was never there, he...the JUDGE pulled it back. So, now they give as many settings as the defense bar wants. The current chief's recommendations are inline with every other courts and they plead more cases than most every month. When Judge Devine Anderson was his chief, Peggy was his coordinator. That is the biggest difference of all. She controlled that courtroom. She controlled the defense bar and she controlled the Judge. That is why his numbers were low, not because of Judge Devine Anderson. I have to agree with anon 4:43 AM, there is no excuse for showing up at 11:00am. But, I would be happy if he showed up at 11:00am, but he doesn't. For the past several months, he hasn't been able to get here until passed noon!!, and in a lot of instances, he only stays for 30 or so minutes before he leaves. He is totally disrespectful of other peoples time. He is a nice guy, and extremely smart, but his behavior is tantamount to stealing!!

Anonymous said...

A long time ago Judge Wilkinson came in late and he was the latest judge in the courthouse, but late meant 10:00 am or 10:30. In the last few years late has become noon or 12:30