Chancery candidates face tough race
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#1 Nov 12, 2006
I have studied this race closely and will be voting for Ed Pittman, Jr. on November 21st. I believe that a change in needed in this position. Having served as Hattiesburg Municipal Court Judge over the past five years, Mr. Pittman brings the compassion, even temperment and experience needed for this position, as well as the best hope for a positive change in it.
I believe the public should be very cautious before re-electing Judge Dale, who has held the position since January 1979 and is now 85/86 years old, depending on who you ask. Unlike many other elected positions, such as the Legislature and county offices, should Judge Dale be unable to serve another full term, the sitting Governor will appoint his replacement. Now I voted for Haley Barbour in 2003 and most likely will in 2007, but I believe the people, rather than any Governor, should ultimately decide his replacement.
Newly appointed judges often do not have to face the voters until up to 2 years after their appointment, and simply practicing "good politics" with members of the bar will result in that newly appointed Judge running unopposed in the next election and for elections to come. You will find that a decided majority of incumbent trial court judges are running unopposed this year, and do each election, including ones that are recently appointed. The decision we make is important, and we, the people, should ultimately truly have the say. Having Judges run perenially unopposed and having the Governor appointed his/her successor who then runs unopposed, insults this principle.
Further, it should be noted that many members of the bar have complained of Judge Dale's penchant for berating attorneys in open court in front of their clients. Neither of the other Chancellors in this district resort to this, and Judges are bound to treat attorneys, litigants, witnesses and court personnel courteously, with dignity and respect. Behavior likes this is the makings of a Judge who has run unopposed for too long, and is out of touch with the public he serves and answers to.
We should all salute Judge Dale's many years of service as Chancery Judge and in the United States Air Force in World War II and for years thereafter. This election should in no way diminish this man's life achievements. However, a change is now needed in this position, and I encourage everyone to vote for Ed Pittman, Jr. on November 21st.
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