Justice of the Peace candidate: Eric Bailey
Name: Eric J. Bailey
Occupation: Retired deputy sheriff, coroner, head of security for the 8th Judicial District
Party affiliation: Nonpartisan
Q: Why are you running?
A: First and foremost, to continue serving the people of Cascade County and to give them a choice in this election. Second, I believe I am the most qualified candidate based on my experience in the District Courts as well as Justice Court. I served as Head of Security for a total of 5 years and am well versed in rules of court as well as courtroom procedure.
Q: What do you believe is the role of a justice of the peace?
A: To adjudicate misdemeanor matters in a fair and equitable manner.
Q: What do you believe are the top three challenges facing Cascade County?
A: Crime, drugs and mental health issues. In my experience, these issues go hand in hand and must be addressed together.
Q: If elected, what would be your initial priorities and how would you accomplish those goals?
A: Justice Court handles an extensive case load. I would work closely with the other JP to find ways to expedite these cases and trials. Justice Court in the past seems to hold its own but like all the courts in the district, they are overburdened by the rise in crime and are trying to gain ground with the same number of staff and resources.
Q: How would you conduct public outreach on controversial matters before the county, or to promote a general understanding of the county’s public process as it pertains to Justice Court?
A: I would make myself available to any group or individuals that would like a better understanding of the court system and the challenges we face in our community.
Q: How would you approach working with county and city officials to address broader community needs and goals?
A: In short, a spirit of cooperation. During my career, I was always open to new ideas and solutions to any problem. Anytime I was faced with a problem, I would formulate at least three solutions and present them for consideration.
Q: What do you believe a justice of the peace can, or should, do in relation to improve public safety?
A: I believe offenders should be held accountable for their actions. But each case should be taken on a case-by-case basis. A judge should not sentence a first-time offender as he would a repeat offender. Each case has its own facts and circumstances and should be adjudicated on their own merits.
Q: How would you work with the sheriff’s office to ensure public safety?
A: I would work closely with the sheriff’s office and all local law enforcement agencies to try and find a balance to ensure public safety and to hold offenders accountable. These problems effect the entire justice system and must be addressed by the whole to find solutions that will work for us all. It does no good for one entity to fix a problem on their part if it may create a problem for another entity.
Q: How would you work with the sheriff’s office in terms of jail overcrowding as it relates to those awaiting trial?
A: Over the years many ideas have been discussed on this issue. As I said previously, I am always open to new ideas to old problems. Having been a deputy, I have seen firsthand the problems caused by overcrowding. It’s problematic for law enforcement as well as the inmates. I would look at sentencing guidelines and work within them in any way possible to alleviate overcrowding but still hold offenders accountable and maintain the public safety. Public safety should be our first priority.
Q: How would you approach sentencing to ensure fairness to those convicted, victims and the community while also addressing public safety?
A: The safety of the victims and the public safety in general are paramount. A judge should always work diligently to ensure all aspects of the law are met. For the victim, that they feel justice has been served. The public safety, that the general public can feel safe in their environment. And for the offender, that they feel their case was heard in a fair and unbiased manner and were sentenced accordingly.
Q: What do believe a justice of the peace can do to ensure speedy trials and lessen the backlog of criminal cases in the local court system?
A: As I said in the answer to question 4, I would work with the other judge to see what we could do utilizing the staff and assets available. If it means working long hours and doing some creative scheduling, I am more than happy to do so.
Q: What do you envision your working relationship with court/county staff would look like?
A: Based on my five years in the courthouse, I believe I have always had a good working relationship with every department. I always tried to keep situations low key and worked closely with everyone in and around the county campus. I always try to present a positive attitude, especially in such a high stress environment.
Q: Any additional comments on your plans if elected (but please be concise)?
A: I just want the public to know that I value integrity above all, and they will be treated with respect and fairness no matter their standing in the community.
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