MOUNT MORRIS – Candidates for Livingston County Court Judge and state Supreme Court Judge met and addressed the Mount Morris Sportsman Club Tuesday night during the club’s regular 7 p.m. meeting.
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After the club took care of regular business, Marjorie Burns, court attorney for Judge Dennis Cohen, introduced the candidates for county judge, incumbents Judge Robert Wiggins and Judge Dennis Cohen, and challenger Kevin Van Allen. Supreme Court Justice Candidates James Piampiano, Judy Sinclair, and Bill Taylor were also present, with Judge Craig Doran and newly announced candidate Matthew Nafus unable to attend.
UPDATE: According to a representative for Mr. Nafus he was never invited to attend the event.
The introduction by Burns left the room at a pause when she snubbed one candidate.
“Judge Wiggins and Judge Cohen are here at my invitation,” said Burns. “But I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that there is someone else in the running, and he showed up too and will have the opportunity to speak.”
Each candidate briefly introduced themselves and addressed the room.
Judge Wiggins spoke first, and pointed out that in Livingston County, the judgeship is what is called “multi-bench,” in which a judge rules on civil, criminal, and family court matters, where in other counties judges might only rule in one type of court.
“I think my selling point is that I’ve had that experience,” said Judge Wiggins. “I hope that when you go and vote that it is not just politics. Being a judge is a huge responsibility, and everything a judge does has a ripple effect. I guarantee if you don’t know me, you know someone who knows me. Ask them, and if the reports other folks give you are bad, then don’t support me.”
Judge Cohen then gave his address, giving thanks for the professional atmosphere at the county courthouse, and the work that is done by local law enforcement.
“When you work at the courthouse, you get people who care for you, and many are treated as customers,” said Judge Cohen. “I am of course grateful for the work that is done by our law enforcement, as Sheriffs Jack York and now Thomas Dougherty continue to do an outstanding job.”
Local attorney Kevin Van Allen then gave his address, saying that though there is a fine system in place, there is always room for improvement.
“Being a judge does have a huge ripple effect, and I’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with people who court decisions affect,” said Van Allen.”I have unique experience that will serve the community well.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Marjorie Burns, court attorney for Judge Dennis Cohen, introducing Judge Cohen and Judge Robert Wiggins. INSET: Kevin Van Allen after his separate introduction. (Photos/Conrad Baker)