Thursday, October 19, 2006

Judging Your Honor: Lawson vs. Holden

The two candidates for Circuit District Five include Republican challenger Bob Lawson and Judge Calvin Holden.

Circuit Division 5
Bob Lawson vs. Judge Calvin Holden

Since he doesn't like talking about himself, Bob Lawson mostly spoke to lawyers at the Springfield Bar Association about his wife and two children. Lawson practiced law for 10 1/2 years in Little Rock, Ark. before moving to Springfield in 1993. Lawson touts his membership with the Chamber of Commerce, the Ozarks Food Harvest and other civic groups. He's now in private practice but says at this point in his career, he wants to become a public servant.

"I want to do something more for the community," he said.

To help expedite court matters, he proposes that jurors should have questionnaires to fill out.
He also advocates simple juror instructions to help move along deliberations.

Judge Calvin Holden has been a judge for 12 years.

"After being a judge for this long, it's not like what it seems on the other side of the bench. When you have to make a decision to send an elderly person to a nursing home when they are begging not to go, it's a hard decision," he said. "When you have to tell an 18 year-old he has to do 20 years in prison for armed robbery knowing how that will change his life when he gets out, it's hard."

Holden touts his credentials as starting specific types of courts over the years, including the Mental Health Court in 2001, the DWI Court in 2003 and the Juvenile Delinquent Court last year.

He said next year he wants to start a court based on domestic violence. "Domestic relations in this area is one of our biggest crises. 70% of cases are domestic relations. We have 2 judges to deal with it out of 14," Holden said.

He said one of his goals is to try to have more judges assigned to domestic disputes because the delays for children are not fair or healthy for families. "To take children 5 months to have to wait for visitation . . . it's just too long for children to go without seeing a parent," Holden said.

Just a note: Because I've never really covered any judicial races before, I'm looking for any type of relevant information about any of the judicial candidates so I can learn more about them and how to cover them. So if you have something, post it here or shoot it my way . . .

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