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.