After reading the local press, watching television, and discussing experiences with local citizens who have had dealings with the justice system -- particularly the justice of the peace -- I have come to the firm conclusion that it is past time for repair.
Our local press carries notations and stories dealing with the number and types of reported crimes. In one section, names and court dispositions are given. Have you noticed, as I have, that large numbers of punishments include only fines? Have you noticed that there are a number of people who repeatedly offend and still suffer only fines or very short periods of time in jail? Have you ever talked with law enforcement personnel about their opinions of the court processes? Do you think that things are getting better?
It is obvious that the justice of the peace must act within prescribed legal limits. What is not so obvious is that within the legal parameters there are things that could, and should, be done differently. The attitude of the presiding judge regarding the scheduling of cases, what available punishments "fit" the crime, how a person should be treated in court, and input from the accused and affected parties before disposition of the cases are examples of where things could, and should, be changed.
In September, citizens will have the right to vote for justice of the peace. I am asking that a message about change be sent. As we called for change in the way Payson Town Council does business, let us now call for changes in the way the justice of the peace disposes of legal cases. Let us vote for new ideas, new methods, new justice. Vote for Dan Hill.
John Lemon, Payson