The 2009 Daily Kent Stater judicial endorsement

DKS Editors

Editor’s note: Editorial board member Doug Gulasy abstained from participating in this Our View discussion because of his involvement in reporting the judge candidate profiles.

For the first time since 2005, Kent State students will get the option of choosing a new judge to preside over incidents that occur throughout the city.

The Daily Kent Stater editorial board would like to endorse Becky Doherty for judge of the Kent branch of the Portage County Municipal Court. Doherty has served as assistant prosecutor in Summit County for 17 years, prosecuting violent crimes such as homicides, aggravated robberies and kidnappings. She currently lives in Suffield.

Doherty understands the need to engage with students in a reactive, not proactive, way by putting together a program for first-time offenders in Portage County. We imagine many students are first-time offenders and wish to be last-time offenders as well. Some just need a bit of guidance, which has been missing in the past.

Although Doherty does not have previous experience as a judge, we trust that a fresh take on issues in the Kent branch of the Municipal Court will serve the community well. Often, it is an outsider’s perspective that serves the best use in a town with the chronic problem of young partiers who do, at times, misbehave.

She seems truly interested in restoring faith in the legal system, which students sometimes forget is on their side.

“I don’t want one mistake, or one error in judgment, to ruin a student’s life or ruin their ability to obtain an education,” Doherty said in an interview. “Not to say they don’t need to learn and understand the ramifications of whatever they’ve done, but I also think, especially students, you need to be looked at with an eye toward, ‘What are they going to do in the future?'”

This is a sentiment perhaps Judge John Plough did not share with Doherty. It’s a welcome change.

We also understand the city of Kent does not consist of merely students. We believe Doherty would be a great judge for the non-student residents as well. Everyone needs something new, something that hasn’t been done before. It would serve the community well if its judge handled students’ problems the right way – and made them realize that they are a part of a longer-standing community.

If you are registered to vote in Portage County this coming Tuesday, we urge you to vote Becky Doherty for judge.