The Constitution-Tribune begins its meet the candidate feature today with the introduction of Democrats Brent Elliott and Bill Burris, who are both seeking the office of circuit judge for Division 2. There are no Republican candidates for this office.
The position is currently held by Elliott, 56, who was appointed to the position by Gov. Jay Nixon in 2009. Burris, 44, of Plattsburg, currently serves as the Clinton County prosecuting attorney.
The 43rd Judicial Circuit includes Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb and Livingston counties. Voters in each county elect an associate circuit judge to serve their county and the voters of all five counties together elect two circuit judges whose jurisdiction extends to all five counties.
These two circuit judges are elected in two divisions, 1 and 2. Incumbent Judge Tom Chapman, of Chillicothe, is uncontested in both the primary and general elections for Division 1.
The two candidates for Division 2 were invited to submit brief biographical information and a general candidate statement (300 word limit).
Family: Son, Connor
Occupation: Presiding Judge, 43rd Circuit
Education: Juris Doctorate (University of Missouri)
Experience: 30 years total. Private practice and prosecuing attorney for 19 years. Associate circuit judge of DeKalb County for 8 years, Circuit Judge, 3.5 years.
About the Candidate:
I am seeking re-election to the office of Circuit Judge for the 43rd Judicial Circuit. I have been elected to serve two terms as prosecuting attorney. I also had the privilege of serving as the Associate Circuit Judge of DeKalb County for over eight years. For the past three years, I have been the Circuit Judge for Division 2 of this five county circuit.
I have enormous respect for the dignity of this office and it is an honor and distinction to be permitted to serve the citizens. Every day I get to work with some of the nicest people imaginable and am appreciative of having been placed in this position.
Circuit judges represent the highest tier of trial judges in the State. They preside over complex civil matters involving millions of dollars and criminal cases that can literally be a matter of life and death. They are called upon to make split-second decisions on complex legal issues. If they commit error, a new trial may be required. This is expensive for litigants and taxpayers.
As a prosecutor, practicing attorney, and judge, I have tried hundreds of civil and criminal cases. My opponent has tried only two criminal jury trials, and has virtually no experience with civil cases.
I am honored the other six judges in the circuit unanimously chose me to serve as Presiding Judge. I feel certain their decision was based largely upon my experience. Obviously, it was not based upon my good looks and charm.
Circuit judges also work closely with the Circuit clerks and sheriffs. I am pleased to have commitments of support from the Circuit clerks and sheriffs of all five counties in the 43rd Judicial Circuit. I believe their support is an indication they think I am serving you well, and I hope you agree.