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MailTribune.com
  • Peterson has broad support

    The recently appointed judge has earned the respect of judges, police, attorneys
  • It is established that David Hoppe has prosecuted more Measure 11 cases and jury trials than Adam Peterson. But there are far more qualities to being a good judge than just the number of cases handled from the other side of the bench.
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  • It is established that David Hoppe has prosecuted more Measure 11 cases and jury trials than Adam Peterson. But there are far more qualities to being a good judge than just the number of cases handled from the other side of the bench.
    We think Peterson has exhibited those qualities and deserves to be retained as a judge for the Jackson County Circuit Court.
    Peterson is the sitting judge in the race after being appointed by Gov. John Kitzhaber in 2013. It is difficult for outsiders to judge the merits of judicial candidates, so it's worth considering what the insiders have to say.
    Peterson has a long list of supporters, including his fellow judges on the Circuit Court bench, all three county commissioners, the former district attorney who hired both him and Hoppe, members of law enforcement, the founder of the local public defenders office and leading specialists in criminal treatment and rehabilitation.
    That covers a broad swath of the criminal justice system, from prosecutors and cops to defense attorneys and those who try to help convicted felons put their lives back together. It speaks to an even-handed treatment from Peterson and a respect that crosses the divides of the system.
    Peterson was a Jackson County deputy district attorney before being appointed by Kitzhaber. His greatest focus in that time was on juvenile, child abuse and pornography prosecutions, and he was a member of the acclaimed Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force, which focused much of its attention on child pornography cases.
    Peterson is also an advocate and active participant in the Jackson County courts' efforts to, as he says, "stem the supply" of criminals by finding ways through family court and drug court to address the root causes of crime that often comes out of dysfunctional families.
    Hoppe, a current Jackson County deputy district attorney, says Peterson has inflated his prosecutorial role in claiming to have handled thousands of cases. Hoppe also notes he has considerably more experience in handling jury trials and the most serious felony cases. Peterson responds by noting that much of his work was working on juvenile cases, many of which never go to court and only in extreme circumstances end up as major felonies.
    Hoppe has compiled an admirable record of prosecuting child abuse and domestic violence cases and in 2008 was recognized as Oregon's Child Abuse Prosecutor of the Year.
    Bill Francis, a defense attorney who specializes in DUI cases, is also in the race. He entered in part, he said, because he objects to the customary pattern of judges retiring early, allowing the governor to fill the positions by appointment, which means there is rarely an open seat up for election.
    Francis also says judges should not be involved in the broader efforts to deal with family dysfunction and should stick to judging. We don't agree with that; in our view, the Jackson County Circuit Court is on the right path, and Adam Peterson is an important part of the judicial team. We encourage voters to keep him on that team.
    Correction
    Federal law requires a local contribution to the Extension Service, and the Jackson County Commissioners would govern the proposed Agricultural Extension Service District. Friday's editorial was incorrect.
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