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Crain trounces challenger Orr

Preliminary results showed Patricia Crain keeping her seat as Jackson County Circuit Court judge by a margin of nearly 19 percentage points.

Crain garnered 24,436 votes, or 59.26 percent, against challenger Jackson County Deputy District Attorney David Orr, who received 16,710 votes, or 40.52 percent.

"I'm really honored with the faith and trust the public's put in me," Crain said.

Crain is known for her work in Jackson County's Adult Drug Court, a rigorous alternative sentencing program requiring medium to high-risk property crime offenders to work with Crain and coordinators to attend regular court appearances, drug treatment and undergo regular drug testing. Later court-ordered requirements mandate participants write apology letters presented in court to victims and do community projects in exchange for dismissals of their felony charges. 

Orr had questioned drug court's effectiveness, pointing to property crime rates that continue to rise. 

Crain also presides over the county's similar Recovery Opportunity Court alternative sentencing program, offering medium- to high-risk offenders who have violated probation an opportunity to avoid prison for completing drug treatment and testing programs. Crain has described the programs as "turbo-probation," requiring more frequent checks than a typical probation program.

Crain is also among three judges who preside over Community Family Court, and focuses on cases where child welfare became involved because of a parent's drug use.

"I'm honored to continue in another term in a job which I enjoy in order to continue in these programs with which I have a passion," Crain said.

Crain said she considers watching the transformation of criminals into productive members to be meaningful work.

Orr said he was unavailable by phone and emailed a statement:

"I'm happy to see the first judicial election in Jackson County in which no candidate took campaign donations, and I commend Pat Crain for joining me in setting this example. I hope this is a permanent change, and that donation-funded judicial campaigns will become a thing of the past," Orr wrote.

Crain said she opted not to take campaign donations as a practical matter.

"I think the public understands it costs money to campaign, and in this case neither side did that."

Orr questioned whether Crain, 69, would serve her full six-year term.

"Along with the rest of Jackson County, I will watch to see if Pat Crain follows through on her commitment to serve out her term, rather than resign so as to allow the governor to appoint a non-elected replacement," Orr wrote.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

Patricia Crain