Thursday, October 30, 2008

BHAM News Endorses Shanta Owens for Drug Court Judge

YAY!! They got at least one endorsement right. From today's opinion section....

District Court, Place 2:

This is the Jefferson County Drug Court, and it needs a judge with passion for this specialized job. The current judge, Republican Davis Lawley, was appointed in 2007 by Riley after longtime judge O.L. "Pete" Johnson retired.

Democrat Shanta Owens, a former Jefferson County assistant district attorney, is a better fit.

Much of Lawley's practice before being appointed to the bench was at Family Court. Lawley was defeated in a run for the Family Court bench in 2000. Neither candidate is well-known to the Birmingham Bar: After more than a year on the bench, Lawley still is listed as "unknown" by 62 percent of the bar poll respondents. Owens is unknown by 73 percent.

But we believe Owens has the better skills for this court. Her time in the district attorney's office was spent dealing with criminal prosecutions, and she was a senior trial attorney when she resigned to campaign. Her felony trial experience should help her determine which defendants are likely to thrive in Drug Court and which would better be served by incarceration. Owens wants to build on Drug Court's success by making sure defendants have at least a GED, become involved in their communities and find permanent jobs.

Owens is the right person.

As I said in an earlier post I disagree with drug court altogether. Drug use and addiction are health and social issues and not criminal ones. However, I have to work with what I have and Shanta Owens is a much better pick for drug court judge than Judge Davis Lawley who prefers the approach of his hero Chairman Mao when it comes to dealing with drug use and addiction. We don't need that on the bench or anywhere in our judicial system.

If you live in the Jefferson County Place 2 area VOTE SHANTA OWENS on November 4th. Tell all your friends and family to do the same.

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