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Circuit Court race

Three candidates bring range of experience to campaign

The Mail Tribune is not endorsing judicial candidates in the May 16 primary, but will use this space today to provide some insights about those candidates. The information was gathered from the Oregon State Bar Web site and the candidates' campaign material. Stories on Page 1A today provide additional details.

The campaign for Position 9 on the Jackson County Circuit Court is a three-person race, after candidate Joe Charter recently dropped out. The candidates are Lisa Greif, senior staff attorney with Southern Oregon Public Defender; Ron Grensky, a private practice attorney, pro tem judge and former legislator; and Paul Henderson, a private practice attorney.

In a poll of local bar association members, Greif received 41 percent of the vote, Grensky 33 percent and Henderson 5 percent.

Greif has been with the public defender's office since graduating from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1998. She served on the board of the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association from 2001 to 2005 and as president of the association in 2004-05. She also has served on the board of Oregon Women Lawyers and has been an officer and member of several legal groups related to criminal justice and criminal defense.

In her current job, she represents indigent clients in adult criminal cases, juvenile delinquency cases and juvenile dependency cases. She has been the lead counsel in numerous trials in Jackson County. Her supporters include several sitting judges, some local prosecuters and local attorneys. Asked to identify an issue of concern in the court system, she noted that a large number of criminal and juvenile cases are linked to the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol and said she supports the county's drug court and would like to see similar specialty courts set up to deal with issues like mental health and domestic violence.

Grensky, a Medford High School graduate, has been in private practice since graduating from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1979. He served as a state senator from 1989 to 1992, has worked in public and private mediation since 1994, was a court-appointed arbitrator for seven years and has been a judge pro tem in Jackson and Josephine counties, beginning in 1997.

His current private practice deals mostly with personal injury cases, including work with medical providers and insurance companies. He also handles some criminal defense work. His supporters include a long list of private practice attorneys along with several local politicians and numerous business leaders.

As an issue of concern, Grensky said he is "concerned we are not looking for ways to better utilize our judicial resources. We should be looking for ways to work smarter and more efficiently."

Henderson, 57, is a 1974 graduate of Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles. He has worked in private practice, first in California, then in Alaska and, beginning in 1989, in Medford. He has been a board member of Rogue Valley Christian Fellowship and is a member of the Grace Christian School Foundation.

His current practice focuses on domestic relations, with an emphasis on custody and parenting time issues. He listed no contributions or expenditures in his race and says most of his support has come from the local Christian community.

Asked to identify an issue that concerns him, he said he would like to work to reduce the number of children in foster care.