Tired of the presidential follies? Are you sick unto DEATH of feeling forced to vote against a candidate rather than for one? Fear not, fellow Douglas County voters! We have a chance to vote strongly FOR a candidate in the upcoming election for circuit judge.

I have practiced both criminal and civil law before more than fifteen different judges over the last five decades in Douglas County.

Recently, I have been deluged with calls from friends, family, former clients, jurors and citizens of our county wanting to know my recommendation in our upcoming judicial election.

Forty years ago the civil lawyers and civil cases were the proverbial “top of the food chain” in the Courthouse. Lawyers like Dudley Walton, Paul Geddes, Eldon Caley and others tried civil cases while we in the criminal defense bar filled in the cracks. However, the landscape has changed and it is now the criminal and dependency dockets that dominate, with drug court and mental health court as important components in the day to day operations of the courthouse.

Dan McKinney has a been a civil lawyer his entire professional life. It is clear that he has virtually no experience with criminal cases. Some of his comments at recent candidates forums have shown a profound lack of understanding of both criminal procedure and criminal constitutional guarantees.

Our new judge will be presiding over murder cases and Measure 11 cases which are not the proper setting for “on the job training.” It is critically important that voters understand that whoever wins this seat will immediately be presiding over criminal cases of every kind and stripe and will not have the luxury of studying criminal law and procedure before presiding over cases.

Kathleen Johnson has broad civil experience gained during her tenure in the Douglas County Counsel’s Office and many, many years of experience trying complex, very serious criminal cases in the District Attorney’s Office. She knows the rules of criminal procedure and the very technical rules of evidence in criminal cases.

Kathleen Johnson is a life-long member of this community. She understands the unique relationship between the District Attorney’s Office, the defense bar and the judiciary that has evolved in Douglas County.

Voters have a right to expect that the lawyer they elect to that bench is ready on day one to dispense justice, fairness and competence in all cases, not just civil.

When our legislators, who have great seniority in Salem, are able to help secure another judge position here in Douglas County then I would applaud the designation of that position as the “civil judge.”

But for this election?

We need a judge for all cases, right now. I urge you to support Kathleen Johnson.

David Terry of Roseburg is a practicing attorney.

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(1) comment

Dale H

Thanks for your opinion ! when i read " Some of his comments at recent candidates forums have shown a profound lack of understanding of both criminal procedure and criminal constitutional guarantees." I felt the need to also input i too have watched Mr Mckinney and felt he had a lack of understanding to civil procedures and due process and the rights afforded by brought before the court

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