About John Economopoulos for Judge
On Experience and our District Court:
I've always enjoyed sharing information about our District Court because it's a special place to me. The court benefits from the experience that each candidate brings, yet distinctions must be made because they exist and are important. I'd like to share some facts regarding experience and what they mean. If you have a some time, grab a coffee and take a comfortable spot. It's worth the read.
Since I am running to serve Delta County's District Court, much of what I will share, pertains to this specific county and this specific court.
What the bar graph below means: The numbers come directly from the Delta County District Court's central computer database. The 15 year period was used because the computer entries go back that far. Earlier entries would have to be manually searched.
My number of 1,234 cases handled means the number of cases in which I've personally represented clients in the Delta County District Court from their very beginning, to their very end. This includes attending many separate hearings within the life of the case, as well as trials. Here's an example of what a single District Court case typically involves for me:
ARRAIGNMENT HEARINGS - This first contact that citizens have with our court often occur prior to my involvement, but I've personally attended arraignments when needed.
PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCES - I personally attend these meetings regarding the status and settlement options of the case. Legal and factual issues are often discussed at this time.
MOTION HEARINGS - Cases occasionally require that motions be brought to argue core Constitutional issues related to the investigation. I personally prepare and argue each of my motions.
SUPPLEMENTAL PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCES - These follow-up meetings with the judge address the final status of a case, legal issues and whether trial scheduling is required. I personally attend each of mine.
PLEA NEGOTIATIONS - These often occur outside of the pre-trial conference setting and throughout the life of the case. I personally handle all negotiations on behalf of my clients.
PLEA HEARINGS - These critical hearings involve the first step of resolving a case. Among other rights, the right to a trial is given up in exchange for the offer negotiated with the prosecutor's office. I personally attend each such hearing with my client.
PRE-SENTENCE MATTERS - After the plea hearing, the probation department is often assigned to the task of reviewing the case and making recommendations to the Court. When necessary, this also involves the department's communication with me regarding my client. Again, I personally handle all such communications.
SENTENCING - Another critical phase hearing where the Court makes decisions regarding probation, jail, fines, community service and other resolutions to the case. I personally attend each of these hearings as well as the conferences with the judge and parties that precede them.
TRIALS - JURY & NON-JURY- When a case is not resolved by plea agreement, it follows the alternate track to trial. Naturally, I handle each of my own trials, as well as the preparations leading up to them.
CLIENT COMMUNICATIONS - An often overlooked aspect of District Court experience is the extensive amount of contact I have with the actual people who are under the jurisdiction of the Court during the life of the case. This includes frequent calls, office meetings, jail meetings, witness meetings, family member meetings and letters. Again, I personally handle all such matters in each case.
DISTRICT COURT STAFF COMMUNICATIONS - Each case often requires communications with District Court staff for historical data, case status and other recorded information. I personally handle all such communications for each case. As I've said from the start, my knowledge of this staff and faith in what they do are important reasons why I hope to serve this Court. It's a wonderful, experienced and competent group.
WHAT THIS ALL MEANS:
What my 1,234 cases mean:
I've personally handled each case as well as each matter within each case. When you do the multiplication, you can see how extensive my Delta County District Court experience and understanding actually is.
What my opponent's 842 cases mean:
The prosecutor's office is staffed with two additional assistant prosecuting attorneys, to whom my opponent has assigned the vast majority of all district court case assignments. By contrast, I've been a solo practitioner for most of my career, and have handled each of my cases personally, with very rare exception.
Criminal Jury Trials - A prosecutor typically does, and should, handle more criminal jury trials than any single private-practicing attorney. The reason is obvious -- prosecutors concentrate in a high volume in one area, criminal law, while private practitioners often handle multiple other areas, including non-criminal civil matters. Incidentally, judges are expected and required to be well-versed in multiple areas of the law.
However, criminal jury trials are not the only kinds of trials that exist under the law, nor are they the only kinds of trials that a District Court Judge will be expected to handle.
The number of trials I have had in the areas of child custody/parenting time, marital property, child abuse & neglect cases and mental health cases is unmatched in this campaign. It's this experience, in addition to my criminal and civil experience in the District Court that enables me to preside in each of our three courts, when assigned to do so (including the Probate Court, which is often ignored but critically important).
I've handled child abuse and neglect cases in front of the Probate Judge my entire career, and my opponent's assistants have been assigned to almost all of them. Child abuse/neglect cases are some of the most complex cases of all in their procedure. Our next District Court judge will need to be ready to be cross-assigned to those cases and there is little room for error.
I also believe that I am the only candidate to have had jury trials in all three of our Delta County Courts, the District, the Circuit, as well as the Probate Court.
I mention these facts not to diminish my opponent's experience. He has much to be proud of.
My simple message is that I hope to bring a helpful balance to our District Court - - a balance of years of experience behind me as well as years left in my career that I am able to serve - - a balance of extensive experience in all three of our courts - - a balance of knowledge in the areas of practice that each court covers.