VISION FOR A SAFER COMMUNITY
WHAT IS A MAGISTERIAL DISTRICT COURT?
Magisterial District Courts or “The Minor Courts” are considered the people’s court. This is the ground floor of our justice system, handling a variety of issues from truancy to bail (except in murder and voluntary manslaughter charges.) You do not have to be a lawyer to serve on the bench of this court, but you do have to go through a training and pass an exam.
Being a member of our community and working in public safety has prepared me to decide matters that affect our community and the people in it. I have worked hard throughout my career to address issues in a holistic manner, understanding that our justice system isn’t merely intended to be punitive, but restorative.
Our courts are intended to be a place where everyone is on an even playing field; whether you are the ruler or the ruled; regardless of your creed, skin color, or economic status. I will look at the matters of each circumstance in front of me and work towards the most equitable solution that makes both sides the most whole. I will use common sense and compassion to apply the law fairly.
There are many reasons why children are truant or tardy to school. I believe in an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to this issue. In order to correct the behavior, we need all the relevant parties together at the table; the parents, student, teachers, guidance counselors, leadership and any other party - and get to the root cause of the issue, address it and correct the behavior. I don’t want to be punitive if a child is being bullied or has mental health issues, I want to find a solution. Education is important, and we are very fortunate to have some of the best educators teaching our children at Keystone Oaks and Mt. Lebanon.
It is important that we recognize mental health and the role it sometimes plays in criminality. Addressing this issue is crucial if we want to rehabilitate an individual and reduce recidivism. Unfortunately, the pandemic has exacerbated this issue and connecting people to the resources to the help they need is not only humane, but in the best interest of our community.
I have helped design and present programs to our school age children about ]the dangers of underage drinking. I have enjoyed being in the schools, and plan to remain engaged, because I believe that being proactive is better than being reactive.
This has been an underlying issue for many calls I have responded to in our community. Recognizing addiction as a public health crisis and treating it with compassion while understanding each situation needs to be assessed on the merits to balance accountability, the safety of our community and the rights of the individual accused.
As a magisterial district judge, I will be respectful and courteous to everyone in my courtroom; treating each person with dignity and the way I would want someone I care about to be treated. I will give each matter before me the time and consideration it needs, understanding that the issues before me are significant to the people involved.
Every case is a unique circumstance and will receive individual attention. It is important that the merits of the case are considered impartially, along with the law and the discretion reserved to the court. Using the tools available to correct the behavior allows for an intervention before it becomes a pathology. I believe that a therapeutic approach to jurisprudence, when appropriate, will result in the best outcome.