Letter: Choice for judge should be an easy one

The voters of Carson City will have an easy time voting for their justice of the peace come election day. The choice will be between our current skilled jurist Robey Willis and an apparently impulsive, gun shooting, twice arrested on murder charges, former federal prisoner for failure to file income tax, vigilante named Roland Weddell. There is a third candidate by the name of William Krieder. I understand he is a nice man.

Most voters, even those who are informed about other ballot issues, generally find it difficult to vote for judges. It seems we do not collectively possess a shared vision of what makes a good judge. However, in this upcoming JP race, Judge Robey Willis is clearly our best choice and should be retained. While Mr. Weddell has the right to run for this office, after reading about his "exploits" in the press, why do I keep hearing the old Beatles song, "Happiness is a warm gun" playing in my head?

Judges are unique within the political matrix because they seldom have a political agenda. In contrast to other elected officials and political candidates, judges cannot promise to cut your taxes, build a new school, support a bike path or promise to enact laws to correct the inefficiencies of local or state government. About the only thing a sitting judge or judicial candidate can promise to to enforce the federal and state constitutions along with the laws enacted by the Nevada legislature, or to continue their legal education at the National Judicial College in Reno.

It is understood that a judge should know a great deal about the American system of law. He or she should be able to apply intricate legal and procedural rules quickly and correctly, while at the same time considering the real world implications these rules and laws generate inside and outside the courtroom. Once again, it is difficult for the voters to assess how well a candidate for judicial office will be able to do these things, because the average citizen lacks the technical knowledge of our judicial system. It is difficult enough to evaluate how a sitting judge is fulfilling his or her responsibilities, making it virtually impossible to know how an untested candidate will perform.

We will have no such difficulty evaluating Robey Willis.

Not everybody who stands before "Judge Robey" is going to be happy with his decisions. I know when he fined me $75 for a speeding ticket I got a few years ago, I was more than just a little irritated at him! Like most people, though, I knew I was guilty as sin. I paid the fine and went on my way. I was impressed with Willis. Every judge represents the entire judicial branch of Nevada in the eyes of every person who enters the courtroom. Judge Willis has brought a quiet dignity to the Carson City Justice Court, and he combines this dignity with respect towards every person who stands before him. Willis is a good representative for Nevada's judicial system.

The quality I consider the most important in a judge is also the hardest to measure and evaluate; a desire on the part of the judge to do what is fair between parties within the limits of the law, a striving to decide every case in a way that is not only right under the law but just under the circumstances. Every good judge strives to do justice, and every great judge strives passionately for justice. Judge Willis is a great judge and has demonstrated in many ways that he is independent of any outside influences or special interests when dispensing justice.

Voting responsibly for our judges requires careful evaluation of not only the man, but also his qualifications. Is Judge Willis qualified? As the Nevada Appeal reported in its May 20 edition: "Willis has received many accolades during his time on the bench. He was voted Judge of the Year in 1991; received the Distinguished Jurist Award from the Nevada Supreme Court. He has been a member of the Rose Commission reviewing Nevada law since 1994 where he represents all of rural Nevada." He has also applied his talents as "chairman of the sentencing review commission."

Rolland Weddell's qualifications? It seems Rolland Weddell only likes to shoot his guns.


Carson City


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