As you likely know, this seat was held by the Hon. Ernestine Gray for over 35 years. While much recognition should be paid to Judge Gray for her accomplishments on the bench, Section “A” – and Juvenile Court overall – is primed for a new voice with fresh ideas. I believe that I am the candidate best positioned to deliver the necessary changes, as demonstrated by the following three principles that will guide me as your new Section “A” judge:
(1) First, the children who come through Juvenile Court carry with them trauma from poverty, abuse, exposure to routine violence, systemic racism, addiction, and untreated mental health conditions. This trauma cannot be alleviated simply by going to court, being on probation, or serving time. The law gives judges many ways by which to hold young people accountable. As your judge in Section “A,” not only will I provide real and meaningful accountability to juvenile offenders, but also – just as importantly – to the juvenile justice system.
(2) Accountability starts with respecting the various people that come to Juvenile Court. As it stands now, too often court sessions start late, start at indefinite times, are delayed, or are abruptly canceled without notice. This uncertainty causes financially struggling parents, crime victims, and witnesses to take unnecessary time away from their employment, causes children to miss valuable education time, and takes police officers off of the streets. As your judge in Section “A,” I will start court on time, minimize delays to the best of my ability, and ensure that cases are handled efficiently.
(3) Finally, it is clear from the continued issues within our juvenile justice system that the next generation of leaders in this space needs to be both willing and able to think outside of the box for solutions that our current system is frankly not equipped to produce. These solutions must be based on the best available evidence, data, and legal scholarship. As your judge in Section “A,” I will abandon programs that do not work and use my platform to champion and advocate for funding for those that do; I will engage the community to help find solutions to our children’s challenges that the courts cannot provide; and I will strive to innovate the juvenile justice system by implementing the concepts of restorative justice.
The challenges facing our city’s juvenile justice system are real and acute, but it cannot be denied that the solutions are out there. In my opinion, all it takes to implement these solutions is a dedicated public servant with the experience, knowledge, and desire to make it happen, and I am ready to step up and meet the challenge. I look forward to the opportunity to ensure that the needs of our most vulnerable children are met while also making our city a safer place for us all, and I humbly ask for your support.