Kansas State University, B.A. Political Science, (Honors) 1984
University of Michigan Law School, J.D. 1987
Harry S Truman Scholar 1982
Certified Volunteer Tutor, Adult Literacy League
Certified Volunteer Tutor, Learning Partners
Lake Eola Heights Historic Neighborhood Association
Lake Eola Heights Neighborhood Watch Block Captain
Orange County Bar Association
Guardian Ad. Litem
Legal Advisor for New Salem Primitive Baptist Church
Member of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church
Describe your philosophy of the judicial role, the qualities that are most important for the role, and the greatest challenges to the role.
The role of the judge is providing the face of the American justice system for all citizens that walk in her or his courtroom. A judge is both actually and symbolically the face of our American justice system for all citizens who enter her or his courtroom. This is both a monumental responsibility and an honor that illustrates how important it is to carefully select our judges. A judge needs to be patient, fair, intelligent and humble. These are all qualities that I strive for on a daily basis and will continue to do so. These types of qualities in a judge provide an example of a justice system with true sense of fairness and integrity.
Briefly describe a case or a legal issue on which you worked of which you are particularly proud, or is reflective of your legal ability and work. (limit 150 words)
State vs. Marilyn Travis, MIO01-5112, Marilyn Travis is an Oklahoma City bombing survivor and Gulf War Veteran. I represented her at trial for violating an injunction. The injunction stemmed the alleged victim’s attempt to harass Ms. Travis by manipulating the court system in an ongoing neighborhood dispute. In a trial where Ms. Travis’ status as a bombing survivor was never an issue, the jury took a mere 15 minutes to aquit her. The following morning I received a phone call from Ms. Travis thanking me for my efforts. At the end of the call she concluded, “This is the first day of the rest of my life…you’ve given me freedom. You’re a hero in my neighborhood.”
What, in your opinion, is the most important U. S. Supreme Court decision? Why? (limit 150 words)
Loving vs. Virginia 87 S.CT.1817, In a unanimous decision The Court declared Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute, the “Racial Integrity Act of 1924” unconstitutional, as a violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. This decision invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. After Loving vs. Virginia the number of interracial marriages continued to increase across the United States and in the South.
What do you perceive as the greatest obstacles to justice, if any? Why? (limit 150 words)
One of the greatest obstacles to the role of judge is overcrowded court dockets. When dockets get to crowded each case may not get the attention it deserves and the result could be a citizen who does not leave court feeling confident in our judicial system. While more funding is the obvious solution that is not always possible. This is why my 28 years of experience as a trial lawyer makes me the best candidate. I have been in courtrooms on almost a daily basis for 28 years. I know the fine details of running a court docket and ways to do so to maximize quality time on each case. Hopefully, these attributes will make citizens feel confident in our justice system because they will have gotten a fair chance to be heard.