Neither the northeast Valley’s justice of the peace nor his Democratic challenger wants to discuss in detail their beliefs about the job — doing so would violate the ethic of judicial impartiality.
So, in the weeks before the Nov. 7 election, the campaign is more about who is more qualified to handle the smaller cases in the McDowell Mountain Justice Precinct.
Republican Michael Reagan has held the job since 2003, when he was appointed to serve the remainder of a retiring judge’s term.
He won re-election in 2004, and now seeks a full four-year term.
But Susan Fuchs points out Reagan doesn’t possess a law degree, as she does. Fuchs has 26 years of experience practicing law in Arizona and Ohio.
“If justice is done correctly the first time and explained well, people feel better about our government system and they feel better they’ve received justice — both sides,” Fuchs said.
But Fuchs could not name any incidents in which Reagan’s lack of a law degree hurt the pursuit of justice.
Reagan said such education isn’t necessary to properly handle such matters of small claims, traffic infractions, landlord/tenant disputes and domestic violence orders of protection. He said he has met all the legal requirements, and even followed up with further education on his own time.
Reagan also noted Fuchs is overlooking the fact that he is the presiding judge of the Northeast Regional Justice Court, meaning his past business experience is useful, if not essential, in running the operations of his court plus two more.
Both candidates believe justices of the peace should be appointed, not elected.
Experience: Practiced law for 26 years; served as an administrative law judge with the Arizona Department of Economic Security, and as an arbitrator for Maricopa County and Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Web site: www.fuchs2006.com
Experience: Appointed justice of the peace in December 2003; owned a sign manufacturing business for 10 years until selling in 2001
Family ties: Daughter Michele also seeks re-election, as a District 8 state representative