Fox 4 reported yesterday that Missey and Greg Smith (left) publicly endorsed the election of judges in Johnson County, which is “Question One” on the November ballot. The Smith’s daughter, Kelsey, was murdered in 2007.
From the way the trial of their daughter’s murderer was handled in court, the Smiths felt judges had little accountability to the people, which prompted their endorsement. The Smiths felt judges would be more accountable to the people if they were elected.
Listen to the Smiths make their case to make judges accountable in Johnson County, or read excerpts below:
“The nightmare of searching for Kelsey was horrible, but sitting there [in the courtroom] watching the judge put his personal interests above the case was in some ways just as agonizing.” …
“But, it was clear to us from the beginning that the judge was more concerned about making the other lawyer look better than he was about the facts.”…
“He [the judge] wasn’t accountable to us or to our daughter, but to the lawyers who got him the job.” …
“No parent or anyone should have to endure what we did in a Johnson County courtroom.”
“It was clear early on that the judge had a personal agenda to embarrass the prosecutor, no matter how long it took, or much agony it cost my family, or how much money it cost the Johnson County taxpayers.” …
“The case was open and shut, but it dragged on for over a year at tremendous expense and the experience put us through hell every day. We’re doing this so no one else will ever have to go through that in a Johnson County courtroom.”
“Our current system is broken. Judges should be accountable to the people, not to the lawyers.”
The local press pretends the current system of selected judges is not political when the politics of the current system is simply hidden from the public.
For example, the Kansas City Star recently published an “As I See It” piece, Don’t Turn the Judicial System Over to Politicians, by Victor Berman, who serves on the district court nominating commission in Johnson County. Did the Star mention anywhere the political money Bergman donates to candidates? Where did the Star mention Bergman’s contributions to Rick Guinn, Kathleen Sebelius, Paul Morrison, Nancy Boda, Dennis Moore, or Chris Biggs? Doesn’t Berman’s political money suggest how he may vote on the selection of judges? Why not let all of us decide who would be a good judge?
Or, where was the press report of the crony appointment to the judicial nominating committee of a member of the League of Women Voters?
Yes on Question 1 web site: Kansas Judicial Review of Johnson County
No on Question 1 web site: Justice, Not Politics!
- Parents of Kelsey Smith urge passage of Question 1 about Johnson County judge elections, Kansas City Star, Oct 31, 2008.
- Did $13,000 to Gov. Sebelius play part in Supreme Court Nominating Commission appointment? Kansas Meadowlark, June 28, 2008.
- Political Profile of Tenth Judicial District Nominating Committee, Kansas Meadowlark, June 4, 2008.
- Kansas 2008 Judicial Accountability Report Card: C-, Kansas Meadowlark, June 20, 2008.
- JoCo League of Women Voters doesn’t believe in transparency in their candidate forums, Kansas Meadowlark, July 19, 2008.
- Updated Political Profile of Members of the Kansas Supreme Court Nominating Commission: Still 6 Democrats, 2 Republicans, 1 Republican for Moore, Kansas Meadowlark, Dec 16, 2007.
- Why did a Kansas Supreme Court Justice Change Political Parties?, Kansas Meadowlark, Dec 4, 2007.
- Selection to the Kansas Supreme Court, The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, Stephen Ware, KU School of Law, Nov 26, 2007.
- Governor Sebelius Rewards $13,700 Democratic Donor with Johnson County District Judgeship, Kansas Meadowlark, Aug 7, 2007.
- Judicial selection commissions, Judgepedia