Serve with dignity, fairness, diligence
To The Editor:
I write this letter to give the voting public in the Town of Middletown a better picture of why I am running for Town of Middletown Justice. I have an operating law practice in Margaretville and I am a graduate of Margaretville Central School, Binghamton University and Albany Law School. I am running for the seat being vacated by the retirement of Glen George and, if elected, I would serve along with Gary Rosa as the justices for the town.
My candidacy is based on a few qualities that I feel are important: 1. Experience. 2. Training in the law. 3. Treating everyone with the fairness they deserve.
Above all, a judge cannot prejudge cases. One of the hallmarks of judicial fairness is that every litigant has his or her “day in court.” My promise is to be fair and uphold the law and the trust given to judges. Judges may not always be popular or even appreciated. But a judge should be trusted. I have been asked by a few people what I would do, if elected, given a particular set of circumstances. My answer is the same, I will decide each case on the merits and the law, based on the particular facts and circumstances of each case.
On a weekly, and almost daily, basis I am practicing in various town and village courts throughout Delaware and Ulster counties, dealing with the very cases that the justice court handles. Justice court has jurisdiction to handle traffic tickets, violations, misdemeanors, and even has initial jurisdiction for the early stages of felony cases, and can ultimately handle a felony case that is reduced to a lower classification. Justices also will hear and decide applications for search warrants, they can issue criminal summonses and bench warrants.
Justices are responsible for suspending drivers’ licenses for people who fail to appear or pay a fine. Justice court also has jurisdiction over small claims cases and civil cases up to $3,000, along with the vast majority of eviction and other landlord/tenant proceedings. Justice court also hears cases including local laws, dog license violations, building and zoning violations, and environmental conservation cases.
As you can see, the jurisdiction of justice court covers a wide variety of cases, both civil and criminal. A judge is expected and required to have the knowledge and ability to deal with these cases and not only treat every person fairly and afford them the protections guaranteed by the United States and the New York State constitutions, but also to apply the law correctly.
I cannot and will not make promises about any decisions I might make, cases I might hear, mitigating factors that invite leniency or aggravating factors that invite harshness. If elected, I will endeavor to serve the town with dignity, fairness, and diligence so that even if a litigant does not like the outcome, they understand they got a fair shake and were treated fairly under the law, not by the whims or personal beliefs of an individual judge.
I ask for your vote so that I can serve the town in this capacity for the next four years. Election day is November 5, 2013, please come out and vote.
John R. Fairbairn III, Esq.,
Candidate for Middletown Justice.