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Former county counsel will run for circuit judge

A former Jackson County counsel plans to announce his candidacy today for one of two Jackson County Circuit Court judgeships that will be filled in the November 2008 election.

Doug McGeary, 51, is seeking the seat now held by Judge Rebecca Orf, who has announced she will retire at the end of 2008. Judge Bill Purdy also has said he will leave the bench at the end of next year.

The two new judges will take their positions alongside the seven other Circuit Court judges in January 2009.

When McGeary stepped down in August from his position as Jackson County counsel, he said he intended to pursue other options. He said his experience as the county's chief lawyer for a year, and his nine years as assistant counsel qualify him for a judgeship.

Being born and raised in Jackson County has provided him a wealth of experience, McGeary said.

"I think I'm the right choice for judge," he said. "I don't have any particular agenda. I intend to follow the (Oregon) Constitution. I want to follow the laws and apply them correctly."

When the two sitting judges announced in September that they would not seek another six-year term, contenders began lining up.

Two Jackson County deputy district attorneys, Timothy Barnack and John Norton, also have tossed their hats into the ring for Orf's seat. Lisa Greif, a criminal defense attorney, is running for Purdy's position.

Barnack, a senior deputy district attorney, said his decade-plus of legal experience and his participation in community service gives him a well-rounded perspective on Jackson County.

Norton, a felony domestic violence prosecutor for Jackson County, said Orf's juvenile court position is critical for the community. If elected, he will commit himself to protecting children from abuse, he said.

Greif, president of the Jackson County Bar Association, lost a run for the bench in November 2006 to Ron Grensky, but she said her loss hasn't dimmed her hopes of becoming a judge.

She said her experience in juvenile and criminal courts qualifies her to take Purdy's position. Grief also has said it's important to have another woman on the bench.

Orf was appointed to her seat in 1994. She was subsequently elected, but said she decided this summer not to run again. Purdy was elected in 2002.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.